I remember, nearly half a century ago, my father told me that everything I wanted to know was available in books. I hungered to know so much. What a promise! The only problem was that when he told me this, I had not yet learned to read.
What a motivator! I learned quickly. I started reading voraciously and never looked back.
Today, literacy is changing. Since I love the written word and the very act of reading, I might readily join those who are critical of the new literacy. I do not.
It is my opinion that the dynamics of language and communication are very important. Language is alive, and has to be allowed the freedom to grow.
On the other hand, we all benefit by the efforts of those who try to defend proper usage. Denied such guidance and protection, language could easily deteriorate and lose the power it has to shape cultures. It is my opinion that too much restriction is unprofitable, but some constraint gives structure and definition to language.
Will the new literacy mean the demise of the written word? Probably not. Oral tradition is preserved by the few who dedicate themselves to insuring that some part survives. The written word, in printed form, will also be preserved into the future.
What comes next will prove most exciting. This is just the beginning. Though people will not be literate in traditional modes, the new literacy will be dynamic, powerful, and liberating.