Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Technology and Its Literacy Minuses

I sometimes wonder as we charge full-speed into the techno-utopia that is our electronic future whether we understand what kind of future we are creating for ourselves. I remember in the 1990s when the internet was first hitting critical mass it was being hailed as a creator of literacy, a thing that required people to type which would, at the same time, force people to engage with text. That seemed exciting at the time, until the first time I saw somebody do Instant Messaging. I was struck by how sloppy the writing was with it. Little did I know that that type of writing would soon become the established norm for the internet.

This is, of course, nothing intrinsically wrong with sloppy writing; I do it myself from time to time. What concerns me is that the sloppy writing which people, especially young people, are doing now is becoming the established norm. Facebook English is becoming standard internet English. As a teacher I can only fight that so much, and railing against it isn't going to make any difference. What's happening right now is a deep cultural trend, and one which I am not encouraged by.

I do hope that improved writing begins to prevail in general internet writing. This may be a utopian dream, and I'm certainly not going to hold my breath, but I do hope so. I find myself very discouraged reading comments off a news article or even reading the posts some of my friends make on some of the websites we share. I know going on a rant will serve little purpose besides making people uncomfortable and making myself unpopular. In the end, all I can do is to just keep writing well and hoping perhaps something will stick.

I'm not feeling too positive this morning. Maybe I need another cup of coffee.

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