Although not directly related to Transliteracy, Slate.com’s article, Don’t Touch That Dial: A History of Media Technology Scares from the Printing Press to Facebook, addresses the need to understand in what ways new technologies affect culture. The author, Vaughan Bell, gives a quick history of the fears people have had as new forms of communication enter the culture. People often presume that new means of communication are more harmful than their predecessors. He stresses how these suspicions about new technologies are often unfounded:
To date, studies suggest there is no consistent evidence that the Internet causes mental problems. If anything, the data show that people who use social networking sites actually tend to have better offline social lives, while those who play computer games are better than nongamers at absorbing and reacting to information with no loss of accuracy or increased impulsiveness. In contrast, the accumulation of many years of evidence suggests that heavy television viewing does appear to have a negative effect on our health and our ability to concentrate.
Being able to understand and successfully navigate new forms of communication can help mitigate these fears.