Enhancing the Digital Native / Immigrant taxonomy

When discussing the use and implications of both “new media” and its convergence with “old media” (into “Now Media”), the conversation frequently includes references to two groups, the Digital Native and the Digital Immigrant. This two-tier system inadequately describes reality so I propose a four-tier system that begins with the commonly accepted native-immigrant models and adds two more.

Digital Native is a person who grew up with computers, the Internet, mobile phones, social media, etc. This person is comfortable in what we call the new media environment. Their networks are broad (if often shallow) and ignore geography.

Digital Immigrant did not grow up with computers and used cellular phones only for voice communications. This person adopted the digital domain as their own but even as a resident they maintain an “accent” (injection of “old” terms) and the occasional unfamiliarity with “customs”.

Digital Tourist is originally an outsider like the digital immigrant but for whatever reason does not or cannot become resident. They may repeatedly visit and dabble and share their experiences, but little more.

Digital Outsider never visits the digital domain because of a lack of access or refusal to participate. This person may be aware of the foreign domain and want access or may be threatened by and vocal against it.

Expanding the native-immigrant taxonomy is required to fully understand the dynamics surrounding “now media”and not wa I often hear about new media examples of natives and immigrants interacting with each other but the tourists and outsiders are a tremendously large population that are affected, albeit often indirectly through friends, relatives, or other “old” channels like newspaper or broadcast. Failing to identify and understand them leaves out a very large demographic.

I’m interested in your feedback on this (my) NITO (pronounced “neato”: Native, Immigrant, Tourist, Outsider) model.