its funny the language that we use to describe our experiences. The ability to use terms as metaphors of experience is a useful way to share and create understanding. Such is the case with the visitor/resident/citizen debate as it pertained to digital experience and the comfort, or discomfort, experienced when navigating this environment. My understanding of these terms citizen, visitor etc, changed this week through a confluence of seemingly unconnected events.
It started with the video from last weeks class by David White on the concepts of visitor vs resident. The suggestion in the video that the term ‘natives and immigrants’ proposed by Prensky, are not effective as ‘hard edged’ definitions. These terms to me are definitive and in discussion their use suggests a superiority, which can never be bridged if you are not from a ‘generation’ steeped in technology, to one group over another. The terms resident and visitor are much more appealing to me as they do not imply a fixed position, but rather a continuum which is more fluid. As an ‘immigrant’ I felt I needed to get somewhere, that at some time I would achieve my citizenship and be accepted into the ‘technically capable’. However this model implies that until I reached the point of citizenship I would be disadvantaged or deficient in my online presence. I don’t think I need to identify how this would correlate to the social debates and feelings of marginalization that arise form real world struggles with being an immigrant vs a native… but that is a completely different PhD. discussion. So I was feeling better. I could feel OK with a continuum, moving back and forth from visitor to resident. A choice rather than a definition. Then I received a tweet from cookie monster.
Ok, it wasn’t from cookie monster it was from @Lifelimits, and it read: “Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent”
While not being from cookie monster, that would have been cool though, it had a message that I needed to hear. Its true, I don’t need to be excellent. I just need to keep getting better. This was important because I may not be excellent, but I am better than I was… and this is important. I believe it is important because no matter where I fall on the continuum there are always going too be people that tweet better, blog better..everything better, and while they are better I am getting better, and at that point doesn’t the playing field seem a lot more level? I think so.
With this new found confidence I felt ok with my visitor’ness’, and comfort with risk taking. After all isnt that what trying something new is all about, risk taking?