I read a brief article last week where someone in the film business commented that the use of Social Media, particularly Twitter, was making people “illiterate”. I found this comment rather absurd given that Twitter especially challenges people to say something in the space of 140 characters or less.
If anything, Twitter can force someone back to a drawing board for a few extra seconds to amend and change what they want to say. The idea that Social Media in general is making people illiterate is completely contradictory of the reality. What exactly are people doing when they write and/or review status updates on Facebook or post comments on Twitter. Often I make a point of sending people in the direction of a great article I have read, or to information on a book that is worth reading. How are people getting that information? By reading.
I believe that Social Media could be used in the fight against illiteracy. It has the power to encourage others to want to learn to read and process information. For writers at any level of skill, Social Media becomes a tool for how they communicate to their audience and gauges their response to those communications. Being “Twitterate” is a great way to come up with short and snappy comments.
I have noticed that many people still pick up books, whether in paperback or e-book form. Even with the decline of the newspaper and magazine industry, people still read. Books, newsprint and periodicals will continue to enjoy a peaceful co-existence with Social Media as long as people continue to read, as long as the writing community continues to write, and as long as there are people who want to let their Facebook friends know that they are sitting down eating chips.