Howard Jacobson says children may become illiterate because of apps like Twitter. The Bookseller‘s headline writer reports him as saying that Twitter “will” make them illiterate. Does The Bookseller really think I wouldn’t have read the item without the scare headline?

As evidence for his already extravagant claim, Jacobson advances the fact that Twitter has ruined his own memory: has he considered that it may have something to do with his age? He will be celebrating his 75th birthday tomorrow!

To my mind literacy is literacy, and if you’re reading and writing Tweets, Instagrams, text messages, you are being literate. Of course we may be moving to a world where you won’t need to waste time keying in text and it’ll all come to you telepathically — or at least audibly. Maybe people will stop reading, but that’ll be because something easier/better has come along. Technological change is nothing more than change — something nervous conservatives seem to think of as terrifying. But even conservatives appear to have been able to bring themselves to take up smartphones.

As it happens the article points to research showing that “e-books positively impact teenage boys’ reading motivation and skills”.