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The Voyage to the New World Through the Eyes of Social Media

Everyone in America knows the story of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving, but what if social media existed at the time?

When a group of radical Puritans decided to illegally break away from the Church of England, they sought after some financial aid. After searching, they came across Thomas Weston who funded their trip. He released this tweet the day they made their way to the unknown.

From there, the Mayflower headed west, intending to land in Virginia. Strong currents pushed them off course and caused them to land on the shore of Cape Cod at Plymouth rock. Their trip was grueling and tightly packed, so the sight of land was a relief to many. Unfortunately, there was no service so this Snapchat was the only one able to be recovered from the trip over.

Before they got there, the men had decided the William Bradford should be the governor of the new land. In addition to this, the men had agreed to a governing plan called the Mayflower Compact. All men aboard the ship signed it and they used this to situate themselves in their new community upon arrival. See below the text William Bradford received from his nephew, Nathaniel Morton, who helped draft it up.

If you click on the picture, it is a photograph of the agreed-upon governing document.

Once they exited the ship, they realized how unprepared they were for the extremely harsh New England winter. They had no idea how to farm this new rocky terrain and were painfully unfit to live in this new climate. Out of the 102 voyagers, 45 died in that one winter. All of them were buried at Cole’s Hill. Governor William Bradford posted this seldom Instagram but it ended up being a saving grace.

As you can see the Instagram user “@Squanto” liked this post. From there, he was able to direct message @GovWilliamBradford and this saved the colony.

Squanto was able to teach the pilgrims how to plant corn and squash, along with teaching them how to hunt the land. These newly learned tips helped launch the colony into success and created a harmonious relationship between the natives and the pilgrims. They celebrated all their hard work and gave thanks for the bounty of food with a large feast. This turned into Thanksgiving. Attached below is a wholesome Instagram post of them celebrating!

As I wrote this blog post and was generating all of this fake content, it made me think of all the cons relating to social media. Obviously, you must be so careful when it comes to how much you trust the information on the internet. As I thought more about this though, I had a slight change in perspective. If Bradford didn’t post that Instagram, Squanto would not have dmed him and they would not have been saved. This made me think of the Article “Social Media’s Not All Bad – It’s Saving Lives in Disaster Zones.” Social media saved lives by alerting people about incoming airstrikes just like social media saved the lives of the people in Plymouth who could not fend for themselves. Although we constantly dwell on the negatives parts of social media, if we look closely it can do a lot more good than we think.

Works Cited:

Bradford, William. Bradford’s History of ‘Plimoth Plantation’ From the Original Manuscript. With a Report of the Proceedings Incident to the Return of the Manuscript to Massachusetts. Project Gutenberg, 2008.

“Coles Hill Burial Ground.” Town of Plymouth MA, www.plymouth-ma.gov/cemetery-and-crematory-management/pages/coles-hill-burial-ground.

History.com Editors. “The Pilgrims.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2 Dec. 2009, www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/pilgrims.

Holzwarth, Larry. “10 People You Didn’t Know Came to America in the Mayflower.” HistoryCollection.com, 14 Mar. 2018, historycollection.com/10-people-you-didnt-know-came-to-america-in-the-mayflower/.

Mancall, Peter C., and The Conversation. “Pilgrims Survived until the First Thanksgiving Thanks to an Epidemic That Devastated Native Americans.” CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Nov. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/11/25/health/pilgrim-survival-disease-conversation-wellness/index.html.

Reckford, Laura M. “As Erosion Carves Cape Cod, Scientists Estimate Peninsula’s Staying Power.” CapeCod.com, 23 Sept. 2015, www.capecod.com/newscenter/as-erosion-carves-cape-cod-scientists-estimate-peninsulas-staying-power/.

“Squanto.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 9 July 2020, www.biography.com/political-figure/squanto.

“William Bradford.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/biography/William-Bradford-Plymouth-colony-governor.

 

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Snapchat and It’s Privacy Policy

Photo by Thought Catalog from Unsplash.com

Snapchat is arguably one of the most popular apps among the youth today. Mainly used for communication and keeping in touch with friends, Snapchat is a staple for most middle school through college-aged kids. If your friends have it and you don’t, there is inevitably a feeling of exclusion. To avoids this feelingmany people hop on the trend of getting this app. Each person provides the following information, their name, username, password, email address, phone number, and date of birth. But from there, I don’t think the average person really knows how much information they give up. To test this theory, I asked a W&L first-year student who actively uses Snapchat some questions related to her privacy. 

Interview Transcript

Clearly, the first year did not know the extent to which her information was being utilized but she most definitely not surprised. Today, it is the societal norm that big app companies use our information and know a crazy amount of information about us. Have you ever talked about your desire for new sneakers or looked up jewelry online and then later an ad popped up for sneakers or jewelry?  These apps have a full grasp on every little thing we do.

Now, let’s take a deeper look into Snapchat’s privacy policy. First and foremost, Snapchat specifically makes their policy easily understandable and free of legal terms so that every user can truly understand what they are getting themselves into if they put in the work. Snapchat breaks down what information they have on their users into three categories. 

1) Information The User Provides

An obvious statement but the information that you input into the app like your name, email, and phone number is stored by the app and used to create your profile. 

2) Information Snapchat Gets When The User Uses Their Services

Snapchat analyzes every interaction you have with the app and uses it to continue to learn more information. This includes, but not limited to, the people you Snapchat (how often and for how long), your cellular device information, your photos, and personal stickers, your location and your frequently visited places, and all of the Snapchats and messages you send.  

3) Information Snapchat Gets From Third Parties 

If you connect your Snapchat to any other apps, like Bitmoji, then Snapchat has access to the information on that app.  

They go onto share this information with any and all Snapchatters, business partners, the general public, affiliates, and third parties. Most of this is just basic public information like your name, username, and profile pictures. Snapchat also can share your information for legal, safety, and security reasons. Another way a user’s information can be transported is if Snap inc. Gets involved in a merger, asset sale, financing, liquidation or bankruptcy, or acquisition of all or some portion of our business to another company.  

 This interview made me think about the article by Estee Beck titled “Breaking up with Facebook: Untethering from the Ideological Freight of Online Surveillance.” (https://hybridpedagogy.org/breaking-facebook-untethering-ideological-freight-online-surveillance/) Even though these social media apps have full control of our lives now, will we ever reach the point where we need to break away from  How much of Estee Beck’s information was taken before she went off the gird? How far away is this generation away from that point?  

 

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Stalk your Professor

First, we will take a look at Professor Mary Abdoney and her digital footprint. A Florida native born in 1977 and attended H.B. Plant High School. Following that, Professor Abdoney studied at the University of Florida earning a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 1999. She returned to school at University of South Florida and received a Master of Library and Information Science in 2001. This led her to become an Associate Professor and Research and Instruction Coordinator at Washington and Lee. She earned tenure after 6 years of vigilant work in 2012. From the numerous posts on various platforms, she loves anything and everything that has to do with libraries, so her job suits her very well. On her Twitter, viewers can come to the conclusion that she is an avid feminist, anti-racist, Elizabeth Warren supporting, liberal woman. She has a husband and a marriage of equality with both her and her husband contributing in different ways. She often can be found advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and the dismantling of the patriarchy. Outside of politics, she truly enjoys her desserts, Legos, gardening, and knitting/sewing. She has a cat and definitely provides her followers with a lot of cat content. 

Professor Elizabeth Teaff: 

Next up is Professor Elizabeth Teaff. She hails from Columbus, Ohio and was born in 1974. No surprise here but she is an Ohio State fan (thank you Facebook!). She attended Gloversville High School and then went on to study Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, the State University of New York at Potsdam, and then Studied Studio Art at Fulton–Montgomery Community College. This led her to become an associate professor and Head of Access Services. She also is a part of the Digital Culture and Information (DCI) Program, and Research and Instruction Services. In addition to all of this, she is the Liaison for Art, Art History, Film Studies, and Theatre & Dance at Washington and Lee. She began working here in 2003. She thoroughly enjoys nature, especially flowers. She is not married but she does own a cat. Politically, Professor Teaff does not reveal much but from her Facebook viewers can learn that she is an LGBTQ+ ally.  

This blog post was super interesting to write because it really made me realize how much the internet stores about each person. It made me think of our digital footprint readings (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-sheninger/your-digital-footprint-ma_b_8930874.html.) and I thought it was interesting to see how big or small a footprint can be. Professor Abdoney has left an incredibly large digital footprint of herself on the internet. You can find almost everything about her through her Instagram, LinkedIn, blog, and Facebook. Professor Teaff on the other hand has a smaller digital footprint. Obviously, she has plenty of information about herself, but it is mainly basic milestone information. It doesn’t contain as many personal thoughts as feelings. 

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One Day Of Web Interactions

For my Digital Culture and Information class, I was asked to track my internet interaction for the day. I wake up and immediately reach for my phone. The thought doesn’t even cross my mind; it is just an instinct at this point. I aimlessly scrolled through various social media platforms attempting to stay updated on the new gossip or whereabouts of my friends far away from Lexington, VA. On weekends, this is about 30 minutes of responding to and sending snapchats, reading texts about breakfast and the plan for the day, and scrolling through mindless posts on Instagram and Tik Tok in bed. As unproductive as this is, it is a staple part of the weekend morning routine. From there, the internet usage took a backseat because of my interactions with other people. The occasional snapchat or text was sent but not a primary focus for the rest of the morning. The afternoon was a very different situation, though. Especially in this day and age, the emphasis on using the internet for coursework is exponentially high. I practically spent all afternoon on my computer. First, I tackled my geology assignments. I used canvas to access videos from my professor on the online platform YUJA. Once I finished watching those, I took my leftover questions to the internet and ended up reading up about mineral cleavage and watching YouTube videos on the differences between covalent and ionic bonds. Here, the internet served as a source of additional information. After that, I was reading eBooks for DCI and writing discussion questions on Padlet- another internet platform. My Spanish work also was all online on the Vista Higher Learning program. The assignment included an online clip of a news broadcast and some Spanish vocabulary. Even though this seems like a lot of time on the internet already, most of it isn’t close to being done. Following all of that, I had to take a geology quiz and write this blog post- both online.  Once, all the work was done I stayed up late face timing my friend, continuing the mindless scrolling and watching some Netflix. With about 80% of my schoolwork online, I have access to so many great resources and can participate from basically anywhere. These are some of the positives, but I also have access to online distractions. What I included during the “homework” part of my afternoon, didn’t cover all my internet time. I am missing out on the many snapchats, texts, online shopping, and email breaks that came up and set me off course. On one hand, it is great to have so much at the tip of our fingers. I couldn’t have gotten through my geology work without the help of crash course and other more in-depth online explanations. On the other hand, though, I have to argue that all of these additional online distractions not only prevent me from getting my work done more efficiently and quickly, but they also cause me to stay up later and develop a poor sleep schedule. All my procrastination is on me; I am not denying that. I do, however, think that it creates a much more difficult environment for me to do my work!

Overall, this blog post really made me think about the impact of my digital footprint. This quote from the Huffington Post article Your Digital Footprint Matters says “With each Facebook post, email, Instagram photo, comment on a blog, YouTube video, Skype call, etc. you are leaving a trail that can be seen, searched, or tracked.” Clearly, after writing this post I have realized, I spend a lot of time on the internet so this has become quite a relevant topic for me. After reading about this, I am more conscious of the actions I take on the internet.

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