The New Literacy in the Internet Era

I take the Internet for granted and consider it as just another form of media, like the radio, the TV, the Press and so forth. It is really amusing to read the thousands of articles where clueless writers try to explain in words what the Internet is all about, to all of us, to you and to me. They also write about the digital divide and it’s perils. Some writers go further and point out that in geographic areas where access to the Internet has become more universal, a new type of digital divide is forming (they call it a second-level digital divide) and label it as a ‘digital inequality’. They forget that we are all living in a technological revolution.

In the beginning of times (by this, I mean before the Internet in 1994), literacy skills were simply reading and writing. Things have changed, and today as I see it, any person (child or adult) to be rightly considered educated and literate should know how to write and read as well as how to use a computer and access the web.

Of course  people are free to use the Internet or not to use it, to accept and use new technology or not, and that should be the way to go. I consider this the: “digital choice“. It  is the right of choosing that we all have in free countries. The truth of this issue is that, with very few exceptions, every year more and more people become new Internet Users in every country. These millions of persons have made their “digital choice“, which is of course the right choice.

The Internet is simply a consequence of the technological revolution that started in the middle of the last century. Previously we had the industrial revolution. And before that, we had the social revolution, when people populated and formed the urban areas. Today we live in the technological revolution, where technology is changing everything. Here is a three minute video that tries to explain how the Internet has changed our lives: Technology is Now.

The Power Behind Google

The real power behind Google is its world-wide physical network, its thousands of fiber miles, and the many thousands of servers that, in aggregate, add up to the mother of all clouds. This multibillion-dollar infrastructure allows Google to index over 20 billion web pages a day, to process more than 3 billion daily search queries, to conduct millions of ad auctions in real time, to offer free email storage to 425 million Gmail users, to zip millions of YouTube videos to users every day, and to deliver search results before the user has even finished typing the query.

The following video shows the tip of the iceberg of Google’s amazing infrastructure:

Internet usage In Malta

According to the National Statistics Office of Malta,  during 2012, an estimated 78 per cent of the households had access to a computer at home. Nearly all households who had a computer at home also had access to the Internet. Overall, the share of households with children having access to a computer and to the Internet was higher than that for households without children.

The number of Internet users who made use of e-Government services during 2012 increased by 9.5 per cent over the previous year, to 128,507. The use of e-Government was most popular among persons between 35 and 44 (66 per cent) and was closely followed by those in the 25 to 34 age bracket (64 per cent). Results also show that the use of e-Government is most common among persons holding a tertiary level of education (83 per cent). This category also registered a marked increase of 6 percentage points when compared to 2011 levels. Read more.