The Ever Expanding Standards of Literacy

Once upon a time the definition of literacy involved both reading and writing, more specifically writing with a quill. To write with a quill, you had to know how to form the end into a fountain pen. This required some skill with what is still known as a pen knife. There were also pencils but writing in pencil was not as permanent as writing in ink.

Then typewriters were invented. Now writers could write faster and more legibly using this remarkable machine. The definition of literacy didn’t change so much as the expectations of your readers were raised such that you were expected to use a typewriter to submit your manuscripts. Thus, the definition of literacy expanded a little bit.

Next came the computer. With a computer you could have assistance with spelling and grammar. You could reach more people, thanks to the web. You could edit text without having to totally retype it. You could easily make multiple copies. It was important to make sure that you made mutiple backups of the files on your computer in multiple places. The definition of literacy expanded to the use of computers to read and write with.

We come to the most recent addition to the attributes of literacy. You must be able to create web sites. You can do that in several different ways. You can do it the old fashion way using HTML and CSS. Or, you can find one of the many web frameworks like Ruby on Rails, or Django, or Grails, or many others. You might try one of the numerous different implementations of Wiki. Or, you might try a content management system like WordPress or Drupal. This has further expanded the expectations of the literate person.

I enjoy writing. I am thankful that I have a computer instead of having to write everything out longhand. I am relatively sure that I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my quest to master the craft of writing. I still have much to learn but I have much better tools with which to work.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and most important, be kind.