Blog #14- 4/26/23

Class Reflection

From starting with a discussion about dolphins thrown on tables to a dystopian future, we have covered a lot of ground throughout the semester. I had so much fun with this class this semester. It was a slow start at first, with the creation of the syllabus and assignments taking up the first couple of weeks. While I was initially a bit impatient with how long setting up the course was taking, in hindsight, I enjoyed how we had a lot of creative input in determining how the class was structured. However, I would have liked a bit more lecture-based learning scattered throughout the semester, but I found the student-led discussions each week enjoyable and engaging.

I learned a lot in this class because, to be honest, I had no idea was the “history of the information age” entailed. I personally thought we were going to be solely discussing technological development, which was a large component, but our discussions were not limited to technology. I would honestly say this class could double up with a title such as “history of communicative technology.” For instance, our initial discussions about coffee houses and the cave painting assignment went outside of our technology-based discussions and mainly centered around how people communicated different information and ideas before technological advancements. Therefore, the key components of the Information Age I have taken from this class are that humans have an innate desire to interact with one another and will use whatever means available to do so and have that exchange of information. For example, this was seen in an early reading about letter writing where people stated they could not imagine a world without letter writing and the postal system. Furthermore, this class also showed the human desire to constantly improve upon what we already have, trying to develop the next “new” device to make life more convenient, profit off a “new” device, or both.

I think some of my favorite class discussions were about propaganda versus advertising and the distinction between them, or lack thereof. I also enjoyed the classes where we discussed our infographic assignment and meme assignment:

The propaganda campaign assignment was also fun to work on a learn from. Between the meme and the propaganda assignment, it put into perspective how easy it is to come up with content to spread misinformation. I appreciated the way the assignments were set up to correspond with the topics we were discussing, essentially giving us an opportunity to apply what we were actively learning. Additionally, I liked having multiple options available for the final project, I had fun working on the George Washington Murals project and getting to contribute to the larger UMW community and its history.

I found ending on the topic of AI to be fitting with where we are currently with technology and the large debate surrounding the ethics of AI. I would personally love to see how the class looks in the next 10 years and how our technology will differ by then.


Blog #13- 4/26/23

Smart Devices and AI

I missed class Tuesday (4/18), but the topic of Smart Devices is very interesting to me since I know there are huge privacy concerns surrounding them. However, personally, I just tell myself how everything that has internet access is collecting data on me and selling it, so how are smart devices any different. My dad has worries about our Alexa collecting data on us and mutes the mic on it when it is not actively being used. While I understand the concern, I guess growing up in the digital age has somewhat desensitized me to the information websites and apps collect. As long as my social security number is not out there in the open, I’m pretty relaxed about things, in all honesty. One type of Smart Device I do not fully understand the purpose of is the smart fridge, but that is more of an aside from this topic.

As for class last Thursday, our discussion on Generative AI was very interesting. I loved the activity for us to test out using one of the AI generators and discuss what we created with the class. My only peeve was that ChatGPT asked for a lot of information before being able to use their platform, which made me feel a bit wary since I am not that used to AI websites. Testing it out was interesting, especially when it came to asking it a Historic Preservation question of “what are the different types of brick bonds” and it took about 10-15 minutes to put together a full answer. Seeing the Picsart AI results from some of my peers was unsettling, to say the least. The Picsart AI brought up the recent discussion of if AI art can be considered art, which a majority of the class seemed to agree it is not. Most of us were saying if there is no human creativity behind a piece, aside from the command text block, then it is not really art since the program is doing majority of the work. Another engaging conversation was about how AI treats race since I had not considered the fact if it is pulling from biased sources then it will also display bias.


Blog #12- 4/17/23

Digital History and Copyright

Last week, our starting discussion on Tuesday was about Digital History. I enjoyed this topic more than expected because I honestly did not fully realize what Digital History was until this class. Initially, I assumed it was about technology throughout history and not how digital tools are used to preserve it and give people more open access. I thought it was an engaging discussion, especially while taking the class Archives and Society since we have had discussions about repositories trying to digitize more of their collections to increase access to the general public. However, there are some conversations about how well online archived material will hold up in years to come. This was something I mentioned directly in class; while the internet is definitely impactful on the way we are preserving history, I do not think it should or will become something we fully rely on since we do not truly know how our digital content will hold up in the future.

As for our copyright discussion on Thursday, this was reminiscent of what I learned in my Intro to Digital Studies course, where we talked quite a bit about copyright laws and how they differ. My favorite part of this discussion was thinking about how copyright laws apply to AI “art.” Especially when Sarah mentioned how artwork coming from social media sites such as Instagram is technically owned by the company rather than the creator once the “terms and agreement” is signed. I also enjoyed the discussion about how certain corporations abuse copyright law, such as Disney when it comes to copyright on content that should be public domain based on its age.

Changing topics for a minute to give a small update about the final project. I decided to partner with three of my classmates to work on the George Washington Hall murals project. So far, we have divided up the work, storyboarded videos, and come up with an idea of what we need to do to complete the project. I think we have been working at a good pace thus far, and everyone seems excited to create a strong final project, so I am eager to see our results at the end.


Blog #11- 4/17/23

Pop Culture and Memes

While I was not in class Tuesday (4/4), the topic of pop culture treatment of the Digital Age is really interesting. I found myself agreeing with the articles that mentioned that pop culture is dying or becoming less prevalent. A clear example I have of this phenomenon is when it comes to popular songs on the radio. For instance, I remember my family and I would try and predict the “Song of the Summer” based on what was popular on the radio. However, with the growth of streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, etc. people are able to listen to music specifically catered to their music tastes and not what is being promoted on the radio. Due to this, my family and I have noticed throughout the years this lack of a “Song of the Summer.” Additionally, with TV/movie streaming platforms, we are starting to see fewer shows become culturally significant for long periods of time. For instance, we no longer have long-standing popular shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, and Doctor Who. Now we have shows that blow up on social media for maybe a month or two at most before fading into oblivion, as seen with the new Netflix show Wednesday. I love how the trailer for Black Mirror season three was added to the material to watch. I love the show and I think episodes in season 3, particularly “Nosedive,” show how impactful social media can be, especially when it comes to trending content influencing our day-to-day lives.

As for Thursday’s class (4/6), I enjoyed our conversation about memes. I think it was good to have this discussion after our meme misinformation project since we were able to discuss what we have already applied to our work. Memes are so influential today, and their impact on advertising and activism is so prevalent when on social media. In regard to the class discussion, I thought the question posed about whether or not memes are similar to classic literature was very intriguing. My thoughts were ultimately that memes are so quick to fade in and out and lose their relevancy that I do not think they are similar to classic literature in the sense that those books carry on a legacy. While some memes do remain around for while, as new memes appear and younger generations get familiar with those rather than the ones we grew up with, even older memes we remember so clearly will probably fade eventually.


Blog #10- 4/11/23

Misinformation/Truth, Information Overload, and Mental Health in the Digital Age

Week 11 was my final time being a discussion leader for this class, and it went well! I had pretty positive experiences with being a discussion leader throughout this semester, and I found the topic interesting to end on. My group only had Thursday to run discussion, but we did a good job of giving time and focus on each topic. My one complaint is that since we had to put two days’ worth of discussion into one day, we assigned quite a few longer readings, but I understand that we had to give a large variety of material.

Our class had an engaging discussion about digital footprints and identity. It was interesting to hear my peers give their perspectives on how they present themselves online versus in person. I even agreed that I do present myself differently online than in person, at least when it comes to posts. Furthermore, we discussed how to be conscientious of what you post since digital footprints can follow you throughout life. We also bounced around with topics such as how kids are getting digital footprints created for them by parents posting them on social media. This is a very prevalent topic since I have seen a lot of family accounts recently profiting off of showcasing their children and family’s life. Other topics that were discussed included how to navigate misinformation and be able to recognize it and how it is difficult to have “regulations” that would decrease misinformation. Furthermore, we had a conversation about how we experience information overload a lot through social media, but also how social media can be such an aimless task that no information is fully being registered to get overwhelmed from.


Blog #9- 3/22/23

Climate Change is Fake?

For the meme assignment I decided to choose the topic of climate change to promote misinformation. Initially, I was planning to do a meme about COVID-19 misinformation, but those topics were taken. Therefore, I thought climate change would make for fun meme ideas. I ended up making three since I kept coming up with ideas.

Where did the idea come from?

The first two memes came from meme video templates that have been recently circulating on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. Therefore, I thought using them would be a good way to promote my misinformation. The last meme template comes from the idea of sh**posting, where people create bad memes since those can be funny to reshare. As for the idea behind the misinformation being promoted, which is that climate change does not exist, I got the information from what I see circulating online through news sites and social media posts. People opposing the existence of climate change usually claim that the existence of winters or snow storms disprove the world heating up. This is why I chose to focus on the fact that whenever it snows or winter hits and brings down the temperature, climate change deniers feel as though they have a “got you” moment.

How were the memes created?

I initially tried to create the first meme, the template from The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent movie, using Instagram Reels, the Instagram equivalent to TikTok. However, I was having issues with changing the text throughout the clip, so I ended up using the video editing website Capcut to create the video memes. I got both template clips from YouTube. For the last meme, I used Canva to create it.

Works Cited

Mobile Snapshot. Low Resolution and Panorama Shots. 2015.

Turrentine, Jeff. Climate Misinformation on Social Media Is Undermining Climate Action. NRDC, April 19, 2022.


Blog #8- 3/16/23

Technology in War

Although I missed class this week, I still made sure to keep up with the course content. After last week’s assignment of creating a propaganda campaign, it was nice to take a break from assignments for this week. I did thoroughly enjoy making my anti-cookie scouts posters though, and seeing everyone’s presentation was hilarious in the best way. The propaganda campaign was such an interesting and engaging assignment.

Anyway, I found this week’s content interesting. For Tuesday, I enjoyed reading the “Does Technology Win Wars” article because not only did it bring up the history of technology during war, but it compared it to current events today, specifically the Ukraine and Russia war. I do not keep up with America’s military that much, but I always had the perception that we have had a consistently strong military, especially looking at how much is carved out into our country’s budget for them. However, this article brought up some great points about how America’s military is falling behind technologically and how it needs to invest in “cheaper autonomous sensors, communications relays, munitions, and decoys” to help slow conflict and low long-term costs for us. The videos also gave some interesting information. I enjoyed the video about the First Gulf Wars since it is not a war I’m familiar with. I also loved seeing how great of an example WWI with rapid technological advancements in war.

The Start of the Internet

I never really stopped to consider how the internet started on an internal level, so the videos and reading for Thursday were really eye-opening to how messages were communicated from computer to computer. I love how after circuit switching, ARPANET introduced packet switching. The idea of computer information being put into little packets is so adorable to me. I’m glad we still use little packets but use the Domain Name System rather than the confusing computer address networks. The “Brief History of the Internet” video was also great, I like how it expanded on first video by giving a timeline of significant internet developments after the switch to the Domain Name System. Getting a glimpse into what the internet was like in the 1990s and early 2000s was interesting to see. I also thought the video was funny, in the sense that it felt dated when the creator brought up Article 13, despite the fact the video was only 3-4 years old. Overall, this week’s content was very engaging and gave me a lot of new information.

Works Cited

Schneider, Jacquelyn. “Does Technology Win Wars? The U.S. Military Needs Low-Cost Innovation—Not Big-Ticket Boondoggles.” Foreign Affairs, March 3, 2023.


Blog #7- 2/24/22

The History of Advertising

As a discussion leader for this week, I thought the material my group and I chose gave a great overview of how advertising has evolved throughout the ages. In particular, O’Barr’s article does a good job of discussing the evolution of advertising in a way that is easy to digest and not overly convoluted as some scholarly papers can get. I thought my group did a great balance between having readings and videos assigned for the classes this week. I think the three videos for Tuesday paired well with O’Barr’s video and gave additional context to how advertising is today and the way it has changed since it became popularized and how it has stayed the same. The questions my group and I came up with were pretty good and lead to some great discussions. In particular, the question “How did advertising play a role in the rise of brands? What does the emergence of brands tell us about American society and life in the 1800s, and was the shift towards brands from generic products indicative of larger social changes in this period?” resulted in a great conversation about how brands have affected advertising as a whole and get consumers to buy in a certain way.

The History of Propaganda

The material for Thursday was a bit more reading-heavy, but my group still did a good job balancing it out. While there were no readings found summarizing the history of propaganda, the Fellows reading gave an interesting take on looking at the evolution of propaganda through the lens of linguistics and the way the word evolved and changed meaning. I think Fellows’s article also provided a reason as to why it is difficult for us to summarize the evolution of propaganda since the word as we use it today did not come into being until the 19th century. Therefore, while initiatives, such as Indulgences in the 13th Century, may be labeled as propaganda today, the definition of the word was different back then nor did it really exist. Our other materials for Thursday complimented each other well, with the infographic covering a brief history of propaganda evolution, and the Witkowski reading and the “Commando Duck” video giving a good idea of how the definition of propaganda was thoroughly solidified during WWII. The WWII material also led to a really in-depth and engaging class discussion about whether or not propaganda campaigns can be good since we usually have a negative connotation of the word and idea behind propaganda. I really enjoyed that part of our class discussion.


Blog #6- 2/16/22

The Postal System before and during the American Revolution

Infographic: Click here

For the infographic assignment, I chose to do the Postal System leading up to and during the American Revolutionary War. I mainly chose this topic due to my interest in the role it played when it came to spy work during this time. However, I did not want to solely focus on how it was used in spy rings, since that seemed a bit off-topic. Therefore, I settled on going broader to discuss its origin and how it aided in the war effort overall. I knew Benjamin Franklin had much to do with its founding, but I definitely found the way the system was formed by him interesting since it was initially created for the Crown’s postal system. I decided to organize my infographic chronologically and format it to appear like a letter with postage and an opened wax seal.

Works Cited

Gavin, Alison M. “In the King’s Service: Hugh Finlay and the Postal System in Colonial America.” Prologue Magazine 41, no. 2 (2009):,by%20Christmas%20of%20that%20year.&text=Franklin%20often%20gets%20credit%20for,service%20along%20the%20eastern%20seaboard

Kiger, Patrick J. “How Ben Franklin Established the US Post Office.” History Channel, August 10, 2020.

McClymer, John. “Getting the Word Out: Franklin’s Postal Revolution.” E Pluribus Unum. National Endowment for the Humanities. Accessed February 16, 2023,

Schurr, Cathleen. “The History of the US Postal Service — And That Time Someone Sent Their Kid Through the Mail.” Historynet, August 19, 1997.,between%20soldiers%20and%20their%20families

“Spy Techniques of the Revolutionary War.” Mount Vernon. Accessed February 16, 2023.


Blog #5- 2/9/23

Oh no! There’s a killer squirrel!

This week our class worked on a completed our first project of the semester, cave paintings. It was an interesting and engaging assignment to do without being strenuous. Tuesday began with each group, defined by our tables, picking out two pieces of paper that contained phrases we had finished brainstorming over My group picked out the phrases “There is a dangerous squirrel attacking people by the lake” and a phrase about how the sun and moon rise and set. We ultimately chose the more obscure phrase about the squirrel since we thought it would be a fun challenge and not a easy to represent as the one about the sun and moon. After choosing our phrase, my group started creating a rough sketch of what we would present Thursday. We tried taking the main points of the phrase to represent such as “dangerous squirrel,” “attack people,” and “lake.” My main contribution was the idea of adding a tree to indicate the squirrel’s home was next to the lake since my main concern was that people would think the squirrel chased the people to the lake, rather than living by it. We also discussed how we wanted to expand our sketch of the lake since it initially looked like a pond.

After sketching out our prompt for Thursday, we had an engaging class discussion about the telegraph, and telephone. I partially thought the mention of telephone terror and relating it to the modern day’s fear of new technology was very interesting and to see how these patterns repeat themselves.

Anyway, on Thursday it was presentation time. My group volunteered to go second and we have worked out a system so that each of us knew exactly what part of the image to draw, for instead, I did the tree. After a lot of sketching and trying to add extra detail to our original plan, we opened it up for guesses. It took a couple of tries for people to get it, but I think we did a great job at following Pictionary rules by not explaining anything nor writing any words down. As people guessed, all we did was let them know if they were close to the answer or not, letting our work speak for itself. In the end, the final guess that was closest was “There is a killer squirrel near a watering hole.” While this wasn’t the exact wording of our paper slip, it was really close. Everyone else did a good job and, in particular, group 3’s sketch of cornhole rules led to an engaging conversation about how sometimes it takes one person to see something for everyone to. For instance, when I first saw their sketch I thought it was about making inventions, but as soon as someone said cornhole I could clearly see that.

Overall, this was a great class assignment as everyone had a chance to do their part and participate. It was also a good way to represent how some early forms of communication worked.