A New Literacy?

September 12th, 2007

One consideration within my larger discussion and interest of new media (NM) as a return to orality is that it requires a new literacy. Clearly, I do not believe that the advent of podcasting and comparable trends are returning us to a solely oral culture. You can’t unknow what you know. That is, we have come this far with technological advancements in communication  (Plato to papyrus to pencils to programming to projectors to processors to podcasts). Short of events following some apocalyptic future, we are not going to throw away all such communication technologies and go back to solely oral exchanges.

So, the direction I’m pushing this theory is that we, as a technological culture have this trend (or group of related trends) within NM that has brought about a new orality. Is it a “return”? It is, in the sense that it again places with us the ability to communicate orally/aurally in way that we’ve not relied upon in centuries. However, it includes communication methods that we’ve used daily throughout our transition from oral to literate culture, and includes new methods, as well. It is, perhaps, this merging of tradition and more recent technology, that make NM an entirely new concept. So, in that sense, NM is not a return as much as it is a largely new method of presentation and communication with similarities to oral cultural and aspects that can be traced from oral culture to literate to print to film to Web to NM. Read the rest of this entry »