futurity, innovation, technology

smart homes, memes, and social media

Heather Suzanne Woods is a scholar and teacher of digital rhetoric.

She has been researching the relationship between technology and culture for nearly a decade. Heather’s research projects focus on rhetorics of futurity and innovation. Her most recent project analyzes the ways memes circulate to create public culture. 

CASE STUDY

Siri, Alexa, Surveillance

Smart device users must weigh the significant conveniences of a device with an always-on microphone against the substantial concerns. Some of these concerns – security and surveillance – are pragmatic. Others – about whether devices should have a gender – are decidedly more philosophical. The bottom line is this: When people ask devices to act for them, they must be willing to live with what – or who – is on the other side.Smart device users must weigh the significant conveniences of a device with an always-on microphone against the substantial concerns. Some of these concerns – security and surveillance – are pragmatic. Others – about whether devices should have a gender – are decidedly more philosophical. The bottom line is this: When people ask devices to act for them, they must be willing to live with what – or who – is on the other side.

Recent publications

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ASKING MORE OF SIRI AND ALEXA

Link forthcoming.

THE QUIVER IS FULL

Link forthcoming.

ANTI-RACIST ACTIVISM AND THE TRANSFORMATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF HASHAG PUBLICS

Link forthcoming.

ANONYMOUS STEUBENVILLE AND THE POLITICS OF VISIBILITY

Link forthcoming.

Make America Meme Again

As demonstrated by the 2016 Presidential Election, memes have become the suasory tactic par excellence for the promotional and recruitment efforts of the Alt-right. Memes are not simply humorous shorthands, or pithy assertions, but play a significant role in the machinations of politics and in how the public comes to understand and respond to their government and compatriots. Using the tools of rhetorical criticism, Woods and Hahner detail how memetic persuasion operates, with a particular focus on the 2016 election.

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