I’ve recently discovered that live-tweeting is a skill that takes precision, preparation and wit to master. Throughout the past 5 weeks, as part of BCM325, I have live-tweeted five science fiction films. It has been a very telling experience. The experience of viewing films I had never seen before, and simultaneously analysing, critiquing and theorising about them was a truly unique experience that has allowed me to reflect upon my skill as a communicator and academic.
What I did effectively throughout the live tweets was engage in conversations, analyse the film to drive conversation (by using rhetoric questions) and actively retweet and like others’ posts, rather than repeat their ideas. As an avid film lover and former English literature student, I found that my greatest asset was analysing what was happening on the screen. This led to many interesting conversations with my peers, where we theorised about the present, past and future.
Firstly, I want to mention this thread. This is a spontaneous analysis of what was happening on the screen, which gained the attention of many of my peers and started a conversation about the subject content. By collaborating and exchanging ideas, we were able to more effectively understand the key concepts and gain a deeper understanding of the film.
Below is another example of an impromptu analysis (of the Dr Heywood Floyd Moon Base Briefing scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey), that was unexpectedly popular. As with many of the threads, we quickly went off-topic and began to pull on other pop culture references and other elements of our lives which echoed the idea of the original tweet. This method of considering different ways that the subject content can apply to movies and the real world enhanced my understanding of concepts such as novums and many of Wendell Bell’s theories.
So, my ability to analyse films offhand has been my greatest asset when live-tweeting. But, this is not to say that I haven’t tried other methods. Throughout the live-tweeting session I adopted the following approach: research the film beforehand and generate 3-5 tweets that were deployed at particular moments throughout the film, and supplement these with ad-lib thoughts and opinions, and memes. I had varying levels of success with this approach, as seen below.
On the other hand, I did an okay job at connecting the text to the lectures. I found this much easier in some weeks than others. Principally, I found Minority Report the hardest to relate to the subject content, perhaps because my research on it was last minute. Whereas, I deeply engaged with the ideas of novums and futures cultures within Blade Runner and Westworld. Generally, I was reluctant to forcefully tweet lecture content to tick a box a) because it would be a lacklustre engagement and b) because I tend to be aware that my twitter is a public page and I don’t want it to appear overly academic. And, my understanding of the concepts in the lecture was usually embedded in film analysis, rather than outwardly stated.
But, I found that the most captivating conversations transpired when I engaged with others’ tweets. And, I loved hearing the diverse ideas and opinions of my fellow tweeters.
Similarly, I have made an effort to follow people within BCM325 whose tweets and ideas I enjoy (such as Josh Sorensen and Daisy Loomes), and expand my network by liking and retweeting others’ posts. However, an area of improvement for myself would be seeking engagement from external parties and begin incorporating the public in my discussions. In the future, I will look up key players beforehand, and engage with these accounts. Although, not to brag but HAL did follow me on twitter after the 2001 live tweet, so that’s a start.
Furthermore, upon reflection, the principal areas of growth for myself are the inclusion of academic resources, engaging with outside circles (as previously mentioned), and articulating my opinions correctly. Throughout the five weeks of tweeting, I believe I only shared a singular academic resource. Sure, I linked to many articles and opinion pieces, but overall, academic sources and explicit references to subject content were lacking. Going forward, this is something I am going to improve.
Finally, I’d like to address one thread which made me uncomfortable. In this thread, I expressed an opinion I had heard and found intriguing, but I did not do a great job of explaining this opinion. This was not a heated exchange, to say the least, but is one that I am not proud of. But, it helped me learn that I should properly research everything I am putting out in public and present an informed opinion; which is something I have been hyper-aware of as the live tweets continue.
Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of live-tweeting. It has deeply enhanced my subject learning, and I have some key areas of improvement that I am working on for future live tweets.