The great monster, Technophobia!

I came across an interesting post about the rampant “technophobia” in academia. Adam Singer is nearly enraged at the “stuffy academics in their ivory towers” who do not “realize a constant in our society is change” and asserts that “digital literacy is the new literacy”

The notion that digital literacy is ALL that matters in today’s world is lost on me. Singer cites an article from the Guardian in which several academics voice concern that social networking is isolating people from reality. In the article, MIT Professor, Sherry Turkle expressed concern that “technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human.” Making us less human might be a stretch but, an overload of social networking does cause academic and professional issues.

Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, believes internet and social media use is making people less capable of digesting large amounts of information. This is an accurate accusation as it has been proven that the ability to concentrate and have patience has been drastically altered by the quick delivery of information we have today. Think about it, do you use library catalogs for research anymore? No, and I am sure a majority of teenagers today don’t use encyclopedias, not to mention know how to use them.

Internet and social media consume the life of the average student today. From academic research to socializing with friends, it is the dominant form of communication for most of Gen-Y. But, social media can also be a spectacular tool for researching, socializing and networking. It gives us the opportunity to explore ideas, consume news, build relationships and travel the world through the click of a mouse.

I understand the concern of both parties, but the fact is that there must be a balance between our digital and real lives. Digital literacy, in no way, shape or form, can replace the value of being able to read, understand and craft a perfect sentence. Once we can do that, digital literacy is the key to our futures.


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