Academics are used to approaching historical writing like a dam, they set up barriers to entry and control the flow of information. However, we are living in an age of uncontrollable amounts of information, and historians must adapt to it. Instead of trying to dam up the water, the academic community should introduce a cleaner source of “water” for users to interact with. The tactics must move from opposition with the flow of technology and begin to move with it, to channel it and provide people with something cleaner. A professional digital presence for the academic community must be established an easier to use and lower barrier to entry medium for the public and academic alike.
It is important that students, myself included, remember that we are always being watched; an eerie thought I know, but it is true. Not just through our social media, but that of our friends, our classes, and our work we do online. It is important that we conduct ourselves online just as well as we would in person, for the things that we do online will follow us for the rest of our lives and have a profound impact on our digital identity.
I think it is essential that we as the first generation to grow to maturity with this new technology that we are a generation that is unlike any before in human history, and to approach our rapidly changing landscape with care and attention; not just for our sake, but our future children and students as well.
It is important that people remember that all those times we agreed to whatever long list of demands a company made of us in order for us to use their product. None of read them, lets be honest, we just checked the box and moved on. However, we cannot forget that there are companies who look at us as about 15 dollars a person–that is the approximate value of all your information to a major company–and that we are viewed as the product to major tech companies. We are a product to be sold to various other companies that want our information, so we must be vigilant to safeguard such information and to understand just who owns our online information. We are living in a frontier age; we cannot forget that all that we do is new to the human race.