Read that scrolling text on the left,
The weather in the bottom right corner
Alternates with current stock market news;
Numbers next to arrows point up and down, mostly down.
At the bottom is a line of words advertising things
With phone numbers and websites attached,
Just in case a Visa or a Mastercard are at hand.
On the right is a solid block of words
Like a flash fiction news report
On the hot topic of the moment;
This changes every few minutes.
Squeezed in, under the weather and stocks,
Is a digital 24-hour clock
Showing hours, minutes, and ever-increasing seconds.
One half of the available space in the middle
Is filled with a face;
Close up and intense,
Giving a running commentary
On the images appearing behind her;
Reporters crowd around a group of well-dressed people
Who are fighting with each other,
Hands over mouths,
Fingers in eyes,
Faces creased in argument.
An ad break breaks the overload of info,
It wipes the screen clean and entertains us
With a mini-story lasting all of 5 to 10 seconds,
Creating a desire for more of the same,
Before the news starts up again.
Breaking the viewers’ concentration with so many bits and pieces,
Jagged shards of aggressive info,
Forces literacy of a different kind;
Interpreting rapidly changing text
As it moves or flashes on the screen.
Perhaps being literate in 2010 is a little tougher than it was in 1910?
Processing so many different things simultaneously
Encourages a shorter attention span
As information is machine-gunned at us.
What’s the next step in being literate?
Is there a next step?
Do we want to take it?