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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.

1,000 Million Smartphones in Use in the World

Smartphones in use in the world reached over 1,000 million, according to third quarter figures released by research firm Strategy Analytics Inc.  The number of smartphones in use increased by around 330 million from the third quarter of 2011 and by 79 million from the second quarter of this year.

It took 16 years to gain the first billion smartphone users, however it is expected that only three years will be needed for that number to double to 2 billion.  More smartphone penetration is expected in the future, specially in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa.

New Zealand Internet Use

The total number of mobile phone subscriptions in New Zealand increased by a third to more than 2.5 million over the past year. “Smartphone use is rising quickly and people are increasingly connecting to the Internet using these devices wherever they go,” said New Zealand’s information and communication technology statistics manager Hamish Hill.

Statistics New Zealand produces reports of Information and Communication technology (ICT) surveys. Results for the next ICT reports, the Business Operations Survey, and the Household Use of ICT Survey will be released in March 2013.  New Zealand Internet Stats can be seen at Internet World Stats.