From Stones to Scrolls; From Scrolls to Screens
“I fear the newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets.” Napoleon Bonaparte once said.
But today I say there’s something greater to be feared: the Internet.
Every splinter of information in the world today can be yours in the click of a button. Editorials on global issues, sports coverage from the Olympics, indie documentaries, government announcements — most of what we know and what we ought to know can be accessed in a flash. This evolution in the connections between humanity to humanity produced a trending term: digital literacy.
An evolution is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as “the process of development or growth”, and the evolution of ways people obtain data is something our world witnessed. We went from hieroglyphics and stone tablets, to Papyrus scrolls that contained myths and hymns, to the Renaissance’s printing press by Johannes Gutenberg.
Enter the invention of radios and televisions to the already widened influence of newspapers. The restraint of worldly ideas shattered in the literacy this provided to even the misfortuned. People became aware of scientific advances and current issues. They even took upon their palms an inclination to poetry and sugarcoated realities.
Then came the name Bill Gates to magnify the steps to this particular evolution. If digital literacy were an ongoing forest fire, Microsoft could be one of the matches that ignited it way back. Together, humanity and awareness considered technology as their ladder towards “the more of plumes”.
Though if the creation of computers and their programs were matches, the discovery of the Internet would be the gasoline to fuel everything greater. The international databases that weaved into one another formed eyes and ears for the world. However praiseworthy anyone can make it sound, the truth only lies in that we are undeniably making use of this today.
Facebook. Just one word originally from Mark Zuckerberg’s tongue that swiftly became the word of mouth internationally. But we must know it very much symbolizes the progress — in a literary definition, anyway — we reached. Pictures, videos, even statuses, no matter how “petty” they may be at times, they all allude to this concept of digital literacy.
Blogs. Publication sites. Forums. Look at our difference from our ancestors who carved their thoughts into stones and caves. The mundane liberty to voice out sentiments is not comprised in our digital world. Writers now call themselves bloggers. The library online is one containing every book ever published, ready for downloading. There is no excuse for us not to be aware of civilization’s advances, and added to tradition, technology is set to improve our intellect. But awareness includes a footnote: we are still supposed to know our boundaries.
Photographs can be shared in the click of a folder, and videos go viral in the blink of an Internet surfer’s eye. If words have the magnitude of an earthquake, how much does the trillion in Wikipedia and Google mean? Our traditional New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today all host sites for their news articles. This is digital literacy.
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Dr. Jose Rizal once said.
But today I say the keyboard might be mightier than both of them.