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Monday, July 24, 2017


We used to think of literacy only in terms of text-based communications - the ability to read and write proficiently.

In the world of multimedia, we now communicate in myriad ways that go well beyond text-based transmissions:

  • Snapchat - predominantly photos, supported with some text
  • Texting - predominantly text, supported with emojis and gifs
  • Twitter - predominantly text, but limited in number of characters
  • Facebook - ubiquitous in its ability to merge text + graphics + photos + video
  • Blogs - predominantly text, supported with photos (sometimes with video)
  • Vlogs - predominantly video, supported with some text
  • Websites - every communications modality except touch and smell mushed together (though the technology will likely add the latter two, somehow, in the near future)
This (non-exhaustive) list is expanding daily. 

I propose that the term "literacy" must now be expanded to a triad of communications capabilities: 
  1. Inform (or to be informed)
  2. Influence (or be influenced)
  3. Interpret (or be interpreted)
Those three deployments lie under the overarching concept of DISCERNMENT, the ability to judge with reasonable accuracy the quality and usefulness of the content being received or sent.

There are great implications here for those of us who are parents or educators or influencers or employers.  

Somebody has to teach our children these skills.  Intentionally would be better...

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