Instant Literacy

I enjoyed this piece on Read Write Web (“Do Kids Read Blogs? New Study Aims to Confuse“) becuase it does a great job of talking about the various ways that a survey can be designed and or manipulated to make the points that you want to make. In this case, it’s BlogHer and iVillage ‘s apparent desire to make blogs seem younger and so, presumably, more marketable, than what was recently reported by Pew Internet. What I find most interesting, though, is the way these debates illustrate the role of consumerism on new communication technologies.

In a general sense, blogs became the “thing” a few years back and as such were used to illustrate that these new technologies were improving rather than retarding literacy. Whether or not that was true, it now seems clear that, for many young people, blogging was a fad that has now faded in favor of Facebook, in the way that email faded in favor of IM’ing or texting. I keep wondering if the important trend isn’t from communication tools that takes a bit of time and commitment, to communication tools rooted in a kind of instant gratification.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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