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Comunicar Journal 38: Media Literacy in Multiple Contexts (Vol. 19 - 2012)

From solid to liquid: New literacies to the cultural changes of Web 2.0


This paper proposes a model for developing new literacies of citizenship in the digital society. Using Baumman’s metaphor, we contrast the 'solid' culture of the 19th and 20th centuries to the ‘liquid’ information culture of the 21st century in which Web 2.0 plays a fundamental role and affects many aspects of our culture. We first review the main features of Web 2.0 through six major dimensions: as a universal library, global market, as a giant hypertext jigsaw puzzle, a public space for social communities, a territory for multimedia and audiovisual expression, and as a space for multiple virtual interactive environments. In the second part, we propose an integrated theoretical model of literacy for the citizen. This model is based on two pillars: the areas or dimensions of literacy, and the competences (instrumental, cognitive-intellectual, socio-communicative, emotional and axiological) to be developed in citizens. Finally we contend that the new literacies amount to a civic right and a necessary condition for social development and a more democratic society in the 21st century.