As the school year begins, be ready to hear pundits fretting once again about how kids today can't write—and technology is to blame. Facebook encourages narcissistic blabbering, video and PowerPoint have replaced carefully crafted essays, and texting has dehydrated language into "bleak, bald, sad shorthand" (as University College of London English professor John Sutherland has moaned). An age of illiteracy is at hand, right?That's from a Clive Thompson article in Wired, arguing that "young people today write far more than any generation before them" and they do it well.
Andrea Lunsford isn't so sure...
Also, see Penelope Trunk's post (from which I got the original Thompson link), The internet has created a generation of great writers: "the best way to have a population of good writers is for people to write constantly, in the language that is theirs, so that they are great at expressing themselves."
Sometimes I despair about not reading more books, and I do think that books confer certain advantages that blogs & net culture often lack. But I think it's also true that the internet has successfully assembled in one (mostly) free and (mostly) accessible forum the best-educated, and most thoughtful and expressive people in human history and that there are very good reasons--if you are curious--to spend a lot of time reading online.