Alexander Owen Smith

Ph.D. Student

Alexander is a third year Ph.D. student of Information Science and Technology in the iSchool. He completed a B.S. in Economics at University of West Georgia in 2013. In 2017, he completed a thesis track M.A. in Economics at Georgia State under Dr. Paula Stephan while also completing three years of mathematics courses. Presently he is working under Dr. Jeff Hemsley, and contributes to CCDS and BITS Lab. His primary GA work involves managing the MongoDB database for Illuminating. He studies Internet memes as circulation and meaning making. His project considers semiotic, affective, and political potentialities of memetic documents in online environments.


Alexander’s primary interests are related to semiotic and semantic innovation on social media. Primarily, he considers the innovative practices of memes, and how memes and people interact. Additionally, he is working on visual objects online related to political imagery, and how this informs people. He is interested in connecting these areas to theoretical developments such as social contagion theory and affect.


Alexander spends free time reading about miscellaneous subjects, writing (speculative fiction, information science, and philosophy), playing chess, making memes, finding niche YouTube cultures, and listening to music. He prefers to read broadly in economics, politics, socio-technical histories, new materialist philosophy, epistemology, mathematics, and religion. He enjoys tabletop gaming and RPGs. With 6 years of coffee industry experience, he enjoys the entire world of coffee and tea. Alexander is also an advocate of open source movements and is a dedicated user of Linux.