We might be 100% literate, but does it matter?
Ever since 5th grade, I remember hearing people discuss how the Internet and other forms of new media are affecting our literary rate and absorption of information. For instance, there are two primary types of Internet users: A) Innovators and B) Consumers. Most people admit they hop online throughout the day to check their email, Facebook, Twitter, and a few other sites. When it comes to the moments we are lost searching the web, what do we look at?
Some people may simply hop onto entertainment sites to relax, and others may search the web for something to learn. Admittedly, I'm a mix of both. I tend to have a student mentality when I'm roaming the streets of the Internet, although I do recognize sometimes I am misinformed by what I find. What's interesting, though, is that I read more than I do anything else online. Sure I work on this website, blog, and do some elementary programming, but I am mostly reading.
Why? Because I was raised in a literate society. As a matter of fact, in most areas of the United States, people are 100% literate - according to this Big Think article. Functional literacy is another animal, for being able to read is far different from understanding, applying, and communicating information. But the article I mentioned before, brings up a good point: "There's a parallel in this story for how we should think about the disruptive information technology pervading our current era. Literacy is to the printed word as programming is to the internet."
So while many people are thinking the Internet is destroying our literacy rate, could it be the Internet requires different type of skill?
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Let's face it: If you're reading this blog, you're fairly literate. As a matter of fact, if you rule out functional literacy, almost everyone can read and writer. Prior to moveable type in the 1500s, people didn't need to be literate, but they needed to know every other aspect of life and communication. Most of them did.
As the way we learn, communicate, and live changes, so will the meaning of literacy. Literacy came with the revolution of mass-produced literature. As of late, the most popular advance in technology has been social platforms, no eBook. Of course, you had to be literate to learn how to program, and most new skills evolve from a prior set. Is it possible that one day those who are literate but don't know how to to program are going to be the ones left behind? In essence, what happens when those who claim to be literate become illiterate in a new era?
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.