As this class comes to an end, I have had a lot of time to reflect on everything that we have learned this semester. We have talked about everything from cave paintings and fire signals to memes and internet regulations. Throughout the course, we kept expanding, amplifying, and modifying our definition of the Information Age, talking through digital technology, the spread of information, and a rapidly globalizing world. We dove deep into the issues plaguing the media today, like gaming addiction, social media privacy, and many more hot topics that called for a long discussion about the consequences of the internet. From looking to where the spread of information has been, in the form of newspapers, books, and oral history, to where it is going, in the forms of implanted chips and smart technology.
What originally caught my eye about this course was the connection between digital studies and history, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic where these two studies are merging more than ever. In modern history, it is nearly impossible for historians to discuss events without talking about the impact of technology like the internet, social media, and the news. From the invention of the telegraph, the expanded communication in the world allows for more interactions cross-culturally to create a more globalized world. The questions that historians are asking themselves, therefore, focus on how globalization affects society in the long run, a question which will not have an answer until it is far in the past.
The biggest thing that I have learned from this class is that information and how we as a society interact with it is constantly changing due to innovations in technology and communications. I almost feel like a version of this class should be required for history majors to gain the insight necessary to changing technology and documents and understand its evolution and use. Historians constantly have to use different forms of technology in their studies, from telegraphs to manuscripts to tweets. I think that, in the future, a class combining digital studies and history will be required to graduate. It is that important to the future of history and its study.
“Information Age,” on Pinterest. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426856870913762238/
“Figure 1: Evolution of Communication,” in Science 10 Section M. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://sci10sectionm.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/timeline.jpg