BCM325 Tweeting the first half

Live tweeting is a new skill I am looking to develop, and BCM325 is kick-starting this! Tweeting about each of our weekly sci-fi screenings gives me direction, something I’ve struggled hard with in previous BCM subjects where the criteria was to tweet a certain number of times. Now there’s something to focus on!s also a lot harder than it looks.

I’ve learnt that live-tweeting is fun, and it’s enjoyable to engage with my peers on our shared detached viewings. What a modern audience hey, all watching the same thing at the same time from different houses throughout Australia (and the world!).

It is so tempting to abandon the lecture content entirely to engage with the fun tweets and memes, aka the things that bring big interaction, but I honestly had more fun tweeting about things I had discovered. I’m trying to find the right balance between the two.

I enjoy my research, and even before I decided upon my DA topic (the future of analogue photography) tweeting about the camera technicalities and film processes of the more historical films I was seeing was something that I really enjoyed doing (and I’ll be pointing this out below). Still 35mm photography always seeks to differentiate itself from 35mm, Super 8, moving film. However, seeing the medium in action (where the individual frames could be seen, as well as grain and other authentic markers of analogue film) really was brilliant, and brought me new appreciation for the whole process of historical filmmaking, restoring footage even more so.

There are quite a few things I need to work on to really polish my live-tweeting, but this isn’t a bad position to be in 🙂


WEEK 1: Metropolis (1927)

The first week was good for working out the appropriate tone and content for my tweets.

Here I tried to include a relevant link, but I went about it wrong by trying too hard to make it seem relatable. It would have been more valuable if I had summarised the main points and then linked it into Metropolis, but it was ok for a first try.

I didn’t prepare as much as I could have before watching Metropolis, so a few of my tweets gave me a better understanding of the history behind it, like in this thread. My initial tweet was a better way to inject some research, but it definitely could have been backed up with a link or image. However I was able to make some connections and comments about the film, which makes this a better tweet than my first.

The above thread was like having a conversation where three people are talking over eachother, trying to say the most important thing. Interactions in future should be more responsive, and I should take the time to answer and think about what my peers are saying instead of chucking in another fact at a frantic pace. It’s like interacting with my DA audience, except through twitter and my DA here is my online presence, my personal brand. The internet is a ruthless place to mess up in, so this learning experience is beyond valuable.

Coming back after the viewing and responding to people is a practice I have since begun, because I found it really difficult to achieve while live-tweeting.

Like I mentioned above, I tweeted a lot throughout these 5 weeks about the use of film (while it is applicable) and its effect upon our screenings. Not only was I learning more about my DA and passion, but since this is a dead media, it’s like implementing Kubrick’s way of thinking; looking to the past and present to represent the future.

I was particularly proud of this tweet below because not only was I accurately understanding and applying the themes in the film to present events, I was confident about what I was saying for once – progress! To survive on Twitter, it pays to do your research. Linking the themes from Metropolis to current times demonstrates it’s transcendency.


WEEK 2: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Second round of live-tweeting went a lot smoother than my first awkward stumble, and felt more natural and less like ticking a box for BCM325 assessment one. I wanted to share information and I enjoyed doing so.

NOTE: Terry O’Riley liked my tweet mentioning him, which is very cool!!

I did a lot better with my background research this week, and this showed in the quality of my tweets. This was the first week that I was happy with how I utilised research, and I aim to always reach this sort of level – if I make proper time beforehand for searching for information and reading.

The monolith felt eerily familiar when I first saw it, and I enjoyed making the connection with the whole ‘monolith art installation alien” fiasco that recently captured the world’s attention.

One takeaway is to work on backing up some of my tweets with links, like Angus reminded me here. Baseless claims aren’t cool, kids! Another is that sometimes, the best tweet isn’t the most academic or amusing, but one that breaks down the content so that it is understandable. One of my most prolific tweets was the thread I created to explain what the heck was happening in the ending of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Tweeting about the use of 35mm film, it was interesting to unpack ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’s infamous hallucination scene. I was really curious as to how exactly such a special effect could have been achieved on a negative, and the answer did surprise me. It is fascinating how directors and filmmakers continually stretched that medium to its full capability, projected it into the future with hard work and experimentation. Think of the possibilities if we used digitisation and technology to their full potential (although I suppose that is the whole premise of this subject).


WEEK 3: Westworld (1973)

Westworld was the first movie that I encountered that really made me uncomfortable, and I got too caught up in the plot to tweet at a high level. Lack of background research beforehand really limited what I could tweet about, and it caused embarrassment when I made assumptions. The tweet below shows this, I made the link between the start of Westworld and the start of Jurassic Park, and was swiftly informed by my classmates that the two are indeed linked – since the author of Jurassic Park made Westworld. This could have easily been avoided had I done my homework.

One thing that I did do well this week was my interactions with my peers. It’s easy to get caught up in pumping out tweets, that like I mention earlier, we can forget that we should be interacting, liking, retweeting and starting conversations with classmates. This has a long way to go if i want to actively work on value-adding, or involving lecture concepts, or future thinking from the movie, but it is a good step in the right direction.

It is important for me to note here that yeah, the content of these replies of mine isn’t right for continuing conversation, but the act of replying is something I’ve been working on, so this is still a good marker of progress, but definitely something that must be improved upon.

One other good tweeting habit was my response to the general classroom discussion on the “vague” ending of Westworld after the intense chase and suspenseful plot. Yeah it does seem weird and a bit of a useless ending, but that isn’t the point at all. A lot of these types of iconic movies end in a similar fashion, and it isn’t because of lazy directors (far from it!). They’re meant to stir our imaginations, make us aware of what could be in our future, to deter us from it. Or as social commentary.

I think there’s no other better ending, honestly, and I’m glad to have been able to have, form, and share this opinion.


WEEK 4: Blade Runner (1982)

Being introduced to Bladerunner was brilliant because it actually links in extremely well with my DA! This week I did the best job at making this link clear and researching the film, but my interactions weren’t as strong as they could be and I neglected key theories from the lecture like techno-orientalism.

I’m holding myself back, so this is a big thing for me to improve upon across the next half of the semester.

My researched tweets following along with the screening are markedly improving, and they come across as far more natural and relaxed which fits live-tweeting. We don’t want facts shoved down our throats because they’re mandatory, we want them to flow and add context.

This tweet in particular shows how far I have come from my initial attempts at meme-y conversation without any depth or research, to interactions such as this. Higher-level thinking!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2021-04-06-at-15.25.27-1.png

And finally, I was able to really strongly link back to my DA this week thanks to one of the key core themes in Bladerunner: memory and photographs. I was very happy to learn of this, and the below tweets show how I preferred to highlight this point and share related information. The remade version of Bladerunner plays even more into this theme of physical tangible photos in a digitised world, so I will be watching that in my own time to learn how I can apply some of these points in my digital artefact. Overall a very inspiring screening for me!


WEEK 5: Ghost in the Shell (1996)

In the last live-tweet session of the first half of the semester it is really beneficial to look back and observe changes to my live-tweeting habits. I have reached a tweeting level that is ideal for BCM325 in terms of the number of times I tweet weekly, and the content of these tweets being generally useful and on-topic. The use of sources and links with my tweets is also improving.

Although there are elements to live-tweeting that are greatly improved upon, I really need to watch the lectures in advance. Granted, I was not totally aware we had to link each screening into each week’s lecture, but even still. Watching the lectures saves me from embarrassment and means I can get the most out of each week of BCM325. I owe it to myself and the lecturers and tutors – this is a fairly simple step to take to better my live-tweeting.

Think tanks would have been interesting to have explored in the context of Ghost in the Shell.

Once more I was able to link the weekly screening to my DA, and I learnt new things in the process. Memory and photograph, it’s one of the things I was trying to describe as a driving force for the future of “dead” analogue photography, and these films are testament to that.


Takeaway

Overall, I am positive about my live-tweeting experiences in the first half of BCM325 – but that does not mean I should continue posting in the same fashion.

So that it’s clear this is what I’m planning on doing from here onwards to achieve my goal of improved live-tweeting:

  • Wednesdays are time for background research, watching the lectures, and understanding how both fit together. This is the most important change.
  • Actually researching the film, rather than viewing it for the first time without understanding anything
  • Rewording concepts and research into bite-sized nuggets of information that are easily consumed on a platform like twitter. Links and visuals essential!
  • A few timed tweets are good, but pacing out my other tweets so that I can have the time to view the film and keep up with interactions real-time. People don’t seem to respond once class is over.
  • In the hours after class on a Thursday, while the content is still fresh, going back through and taking the time to properly and seriously interact with my classmates with the aim of starting or continuing conversations.

To give myself the best chance at third-year level interactions and conversations, I will be conducting background research on Wednesdays and saving relevant information. This includes links, academic sources and facts, preferably with a focus on any lecture concepts and theories that relate.

Ultimately I want to be able to break down complex theory and research into packages of media that are supported by the format of Twitter, easy for my audience to consume, and interesting enough to spark thoughtful conversation.

Live-tweeting checklist:

  • Is there a source I could be linking in, to add further information?
  • Does this relate to any of the concepts from the lectures and resources?
  • Is there a more digestible way of saying this?
  • Are there other hashtags that would benefit this tweet?
  • Would I want to start a conversation by saying this?
  • How is the future being examined here? What is being said?
  • Are there visuals that would make this tweet more eye-catching?
  • Will retweeting that with a comment add value?
  • Am I tweeting for the sake of tweeting, or to contribute constructively?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s