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Technology and Literacy Rates

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 10 years and 115 days ago. Viewed 1,967 times. #1
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Monkeys with Megaphones

>>Seth Godin observes the phenomena of widely accessed, easily constructed publishing leading to an excess of noise, drowing out the signal. He calls it Monkeys with Megaphones, which is a delightful description.

It isn't new, however. Back in 2006, I >>commented on Slashdot:

I disagree -- the technology is not leading to an inability to communicate. Technology is making it possible to circulate written items far more widely and easily than before. This merely exposes a reality long hidden: the vast majority of people have never been able to communicate in the written form.

The internet has always been this way. I've been inflicting my incoherent rantings on the internet in one form or another for over thirteen years now, and I flatter myself with the notion that I am somewhat better at it than average. But even so, I'm by no means a good writer.

Writing is one of those things you have to practice before you become good, and the problem is that with blogger and livejournal, people are ending up publishing mindless junk and polluting search engines with their drivel.

(Yes, I'm aware of the irony here.)

This stuff becomes recorded, sometimes permanently in unexpected ways.

But the end result is that we end up looking for filters to find the good stuff. This ends up being sites like Digg or Slashdot, which in their own way end up getting a large enough audience such that they become worth gaming, to redirect the attentions of the masses to a particular object, even if only briefly. So such filters reach a maximum value: once they reach it, they become devalued by those gaming them.

Interestingly enough, I don't actually read Slashdot anywhere nearly as frequently as I used to, and I've never read Digg regularly. Most of my information comes from the army of 'blogs I read with the help of RSS. It makes me overinformed on some things (for example, F1) and underinformed on others (for example I only heard about a NBA referee scandal when it was indirectly commented on in a poker 'blog that I follow).

But the bottom line to all this is: I don't think literacy rates are changing any. I think that the level of literacy is just more exposed now.

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