New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, is divided into 3 parts;
- Part 1: New Literacies: Concepts and Theory
- Part 2: New Literacies: Some Everyday Practices
- Part 3: New Literacies and Social Learning
Below is my response to Chapter 2, which falls under Part 1.
This chapter gave me a better insight to ‘new’ literacies and how they are evolving and changing on a daily basis. 20 years ago the concept of social networks and social learning was just coming to be. The idea of involving oneself in multiple communities, outside of one’s physical demographic area, never crossed my mind. Today, the majority of the worlds population is part (even in a very small way) of communities of people and many don’t ever interact face to face. This course, social learning, sharing of information within a group of people is a great example of how literacies have changed and will continue to change. I participate in social media. It started with myspace, connecting with people I no longer lived near, to my participation in Facebook, now twitter, blogs, flickr, etc. By participating in these networks I am learning the practice of being social outside of my physical space. Learning this ‘new’ literacy. I am able to make connections with people I would never have connected with outside of the internet community. People can belong to so many different communities and actively practice within them, it just boggles my mind.
After reading the chapter, I understand that the practices of literacies identify different ways of being in my life. These are classified as a Discourse, way of being. I have a Discourse of being a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver. I have a Discourse of being an Assistant Registrar for Degree Audit. I have a Discourse of being a twin. Within these Discourses, say my Discourse of being a twin, I have knowledge of what it’s like to be a twin, I have a discourse of sharing my life with someone I have known since before birth. I have a discourse in a bond/connection with another person at a different level than most.
So when I think about my participation in online social communities, I now have an understanding of how I can put meaning into these practices. How my participation identifies who I am as a student, as a professional, as a friend, as a sister, etc. My participation creates meaning, for me, in that community and encourages others to make meaning of what I share.
Something that was brought up in chapter 2, is the launch of Facebook in 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg and his collaborators. Was this launch, for all intents and purposes, a ‘new’ literacy being unleashed for public consumption? I would argue that, yes it is a new literacy. This was a way to connect to people that didn’t exist before. People’s participation within the site has changed since the initial launch and overtime will change again, I’m sure. People may have completely online relationships with people they have never met and will probably will never met, at the same time is also a ‘friend’ with the person sitting next to them on the couch. Facebook removed the physical walls that really bound our existence with regards to our social lives and enabled people to experience friendships and connections all over.