Elf Wax Tech Watch is a new segment in which technological trends are examined in depth. Today’s article is how “virtual literacy” relates to the now dead newspaper industry.
Technological change has widely shut down newspapers for the past decade, and today the last paid reporter has punched his clock for the last time. Nobody has reported a word on the issue, but the blogosphere is rampant with rumors and speculation of what actually has just happened. Among most bloggers, the consensus is that youTube is far more effective at spreading news than text. Stupidly, this statement was made on textual blogs, which are next in line after newspapers for total extinction.
The pseudo-literacy of youTubers is obvious in a quick scan of any video’s comments. Has literacy, like the watch, been replaced by new devices? Sure, no one carries pointless watches, because cell phones keep the time and do other things too. They record what happens, transfer it around the place, and with a camera it takes the least of human effort. YouTube might be the newest kind of literacy, because who needs writing when there’s a video of what just happened? Skip the explanation, no time for that in the modern world. Let’s see the police brutality caught on tape.
At some point, the only vestiges of literacy will be txt spk, an abbreviated form of English almost without vowels. In future high schools, students will read Moby Dick on their cell phones in a summarized and abbreviated form. Rather than writing a book report, they will youTube their reflections and leave their classmates taunting and barely-intelligible cmnts.
Their will be one glorious moment in our future where humans no longer have to communicate for themselves and computers will automatically perform all necessary communications so as not to burden the puny human brain. Computers are already set to do all the heavy-lifting for society, soon they’ll do the communicating, so now it’s just time to teach them to flip burgers and cut hair.