This semester was a very interesting semester for me as a senior. It was my last real semester of college and I was finishing up my history seminar requirements, and preparing for 485 over the summer. Going into this semester I thought that my two seminar classes would be the hardest and most writing intensive classes I would take as a history major. What I discovered was that these two classes were actually the ones that taught me how to be a historian in the modern age. One class that did this specifically was History in the Information Age. I was not sure what to think about this class going into it. I thought we would be looking at how the history field has developed in the last century. What we actually did was much more than that. We discussed and debated what the information age actually was and a bunch of different topics that could fall within it. We went as far back as the 15th century and the printing press all the way up to modern times and the digital age that we are apart of now. Perhaps the topic that we discussed the most throughout the course was social media. Social media is quickly becoming the thing to dominate most peoples spare time and even lives in some cases. Along with this, our two week discussion of paper and its effect on why the Revolutionary War happened was eye opening. Going into this class I was under the impression the stamp act was quite literally a tax on stamps, I did not realize it was a tax on all British goods that had the royal seal on them. This tax was especially harsh on paper which was a commodity in the colonies. The paper that was printed on was often derived from old, worn out rags. THis heavy tax lead to unrest in the colonies and many people began to complain of the taxation without representation. The lack of paper also contributed to a high price for any printed materials sold in the colonies, all of which was almost exclusively british made and sold. The only materials printed for church were brought from Britain and sold to the colonists. These tensions eventually boiled over into the Revolutionary War.
Another Major topic we covered was the development of technology over the last 20 years and what its effects have been. Among effects discussed we talked a lot about the instant accessibility of almost anything a person could want to see due to the internet. Along with the internet has come instant messaging and social media. This combined with the development of the smartphone have made the information age into what it is. That is one thing that I will take with me. Everyday we are being bombarded with information from all angles it could make a persons head spin. With all of this new technology we have officially entered the information age. The age at which a person can find whatever they want with the click of a button. With this also comes negatives. We discussed the dark web and the illegal and dark side that it is known for. The dark web harbors websites that allow for people to buy and sell any and all type of illegal goods and services. From marijuana to hitman it can be found on the dark web. However, even the Dark web has some positive aspects to it. We learned about all these positive aspects and in helping lead class discussion by doing research on the topic I was enlightened as to what these are. The dark web offers people an anonymous way for people to browse the web and some sites like the washington post allow for people to leak stories to them completely anonymously.