We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

22% of Americans Lack Digital Literacy (98% in Pierre)

The FCC has released a new report titled "Broadband Use and Adoption in America." Among the findings:

The survey found that 35 percent of Americans do not use broadband at home, including 22 percent of adults who do not use the Internet at all. Of that 35 percent, 36 percent say it is too expensive, while 19 percent do not see the Internet as relevant to their lives. Another 22 percent lack what the FCC calls ''digital literacy'' skills. They fall into a category that includes people who are not comfortable with computers or who are scared of ''bad things'' on the Internet ["FCC Survey Shows Need to Teach Broadband Basics," AP via New York Times, 2010.02.23].

Lack of digital literacy? Scared of "bad things" on the Internet? Sounds like the South Dakota Legislature.

Also sounds like my local newspaper publisher, who not only can't work hyperlinks but also likes to manufacture false social crises:

But we still understand the problem of malicious, harmful writing on blogs or Facebook, Twitter and many other online venues. Worse yet, the intensity and meanness seems to be ratcheting up a level, making the likelihood of real damage even greater [Jon Hunter, "We Shouldn't Have to Try to Legislate Online Civility," Madison Daily Leader, 2010.02.23].

I agree that the Internet is filled with boorish speech, but "ratcheting up"? Where does hunter find any evidence that the Web is ruder today than it was in past years? Sounds like classic mainstream media sensationalism, trying to ratchet up fears of an escalating crisis where there is no evidence of escalation.

I do agree with Hunter's main point we shouldn't try legislating online speech with ill-conceived policies like the Blog Control Acts which were defeated in committee Monday. The proper path to helping people make better use of online speech is through education and natural cultural evolution.


  1. Cori,
    Go back and read your own posts and notice the difference in content in just one year.
    Joseph G Thompson

  2. I think allowing comments to stories would enhance the overall interest of people and advertisers on the Daily Leader's website. Right now, both the Leader and KJAM have locked out engaging one or two generations who are electronic-only. We'll never agree with every opinion, but I enjoy reading how other folks feel. It's basically "coffee talk" via the internet. KJAM should do the same thing to enhance their viewership on www.amazingmadison.com.

  3. If anybody really wants to read online rudeness – go to google and read the archive of alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die…or any of the glory of Usenet.

    Trust me – NOTHING I have seen in the South Dakota Blogosphere can even come close to Usenet in the early to mid 90’s. The fact is things are much calmer and more civilized than when I started on jumping onto the internet at college in the late eighties early nineties.

    Anthony D. Renli

  4. Really, Joseph? I don't think I'm being any more of a jerk now than I was when I started blogging, or when I was whacking anonymi during the heat of the Obama campaign. I'm just as hard on Russ as I was when he first ran for office and started voting for stupid bills. I would love to do a statistical analysis of heated or uncivil language over time on this blog; in the mean time, can you provide some specific examples of the difference you perceive over the past year (or longer)?

    My nymity policy has softened the tone in the comment section somewhat (as has banning Sibby). I'm with Mr. Renli: there is no evidence that the Internet is ruder now than it was when the first users discovered flames.


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.