Beginning to Examine the Information Age

Brian Winston’s “Media Technology and Examining Society: A History From the Telegraph to the Internet” does not advocate for a per say a”revolutionary” Information Age. Winston argues that calling the Information Age a sort of technological “evolution” is misguided. He referenced the relationship of the social sphere, technology, and science as drawn from Saussurian linguistics in a diagram. Winston advocates for a non digital “revolution” due to the social sphere being relatively primal when science and technology advanced. This type of thinking reminded me of freshmen year. I took a History to 1865 and my research paper was to pick a side whether the American Revolution was in fact revolutionary or adequate. I do not side with Winston calling the Information Age non revolutionary. Communication has evolved from Sumerian writing to the invention of the telephone. Viewing the evolution of ideas to a digital platform is not adequate to me. Winston believes because of society’s “primal” reaction of the advancement of technology a revolution of the Information Age can not be seen. However, I think this represents the learning curve of the simple unknown. Looking at Claire L. Evan’s “Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet” one can see an Information Age evolution. Evans begins her work with discussing the word “computer” in the late nineteenth century. A “computer” during this time was a worker; someone that could help the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. calculate the distance of various stars, planets, the sun, and moon. An interesting sentence that caught my attention was, “This ad was the first instance of the word “computer” in print. It wasn’t placed by an indiscreet time-traveler, someone trapped in the Gilded Age and jonesing for the familiar glow of their MacBook”. The Information Age helped changed the common vernacular of everyday people. A computer in 2019 is far different from the worker in 1892. The Gilded Age alone contributed immensely to the electrical and communication field. Edison, Tesla, and Bell altered the way in which people received knowledge. I think comparing and contrasting these works of Winston and Evan is important to understanding the Information Age. These works help an individual better understand the common arguments, but also the view of an adequate progression of humanity. Upon reading these two introductory readings of the Information Age, I would like to focus on the cultural affects of the era. Looking at MEMEs and shows like Black Mirror to show the extent of a digital age forming.

Introduction

My name is Billy Senicola and I am a senior history major with an economics minor. I have always had a fascination with history since I was young. I grew up on Long Island, New York and frequently encountered important historical sites. One of my favorites is Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill estate. I decided to take History of the Information Age because it is out of my comfort zone and seems to be a somewhat new historical field. Technological advancement has contributed immensely to humanity. I wish to study the positive and negative externalities of the digital Information Age. Upon reviewing the syllabus from the Class of 2014, I would love to take part in some type of propaganda campaign. The assignment could include the use of MEMEs for propaganda use instead of traditional posters or flyers. Lastly I personally believe the best advice to keep in mind is do not hesitate to ask for help.