#BCM325 Live-Tweeting a.k.a. the (Joyful) Trials and Tribulations of Multitasking

*Spoilers ahead; you might not want to read this post if you have yet to watch one of the following films: Ghost in the Shell (1995), WestWorld (1973), The Matrix (1999), Be Right Back (Black Mirror S2E1, 2013), Robot & Frank (2012), Hated in the Nation (Black Mirror S3E6, 2016).

This session, I have sailed (waddled, more like) into uncharted waters, thanks to BCM325’s live-Tweeting requirement. Throughout the first eight weeks of this subject, Future Cultures, eight films were screened and analysed/commented on in real time by us students.

bcm325 livetweet
(Illustration by me)

In spite of my initial scepticism that the live-tweeting would distract from enjoying and immersing in the films, the “exercise” has enhanced the experience in unexpected ways. I have learnt to engage in meaningful discussions and to apply theories about unfamiliar topics from the lectures to read between the lines of media texts to further understand them. Out of my roughly 60-70 Tweets spanning across six weekly screenings (I unfortunately missed two due to falling ill), I have cherry-picked a few to dissect here, for you and for myself to see how I have progressed.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Here is my second Tweet into the whole thing: a simple comment on a snapshot of the settings, hastily typed as it was slowly dawning on me how complicated all this multitasking was — I could not take my eyes off the screen for too long, yet I was somewhat slow in finding relevant sources to draw on.

A few other Tweets in, and I could catch up with the pace of the film now, even able to quickly type down and cross-check quotes along with searching for illustrations.

I switched to using TweetDeck at this point for simultanous viewing of my own profile and the hashtag #BCM325 “newsfeed” so that I could retweet comments which I found thought-provoking.

I finished the first live-tweeting session with, well, more questions — I felt the tweeting made me read markedly deeper into the text, thus prevented me from forming a single comprehensive conclusion.

WestWorld (1973)

At week two, I was more comfortable with multitasking — watching the scenes, noting down quotes, looking up details online — and wrote a significantly more informative opening Tweet than that in my first screening (the two are put together right below for obvious contrast).

WestWorld was not entirely to my taste; it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and actively relate the details to my background knowledge and the previous screenings.

The Matrix (1999)

Although a classic, The Matrix has never truly appealed to me, but I soon got so engrossed that I missed many chances of tweeting important comments I had already formed in mind. I made up for this by looking up quotes from the movie and adding to them with some observations. Tweeting in threads was also an approach I found more intuitive for the practice, and I used it for all the subsequent screening sessions.

This is my first discussion with another classmate about the screening, and as seen in some Tweets below, my enthusiasm clearly grew with each conversation. The individual experience soon turned into (at least something akin to) collaborative learning, and the microblogging nature of Twitter helped tremendously in achieving that (Carpenter 2014, p. 14). Sometimes, our lecturer/tutor would also chime in.

twitterdiscussion.png

At the same time, I occasionally looked for intriguing Tweets on the #BCM325 feed to interact with, sometimes just by a quick click on the Retweet button. This Tweet by Angela rounded up the atmosphere of the film in one sentence:

Be Right Back (Black Mirror S2E1, 2013)

Realising I should be more considerate of my Twitter followers, I placed a spoiler warning in my opening Tweet this time:

In this Tweet, I linked my observations to what we had learnt that day on cyborgs and androids:

To me, Be Right Back was the darkest among the screenings, as it hits so close to home with its nuanced depiction of an intimate relationship and the heartbreaks and pain that follow the loss of a loved one; I wrapped up the session by emphasising those points.

Robot & Frank (2012)

Robot & Frank was a detour from the heavy and dark thrillers thus far — a slightly slow-paced, beautifully written and filmed comedy, and my absolute favourite. It was slow enough for me to take in the beauty of it while still making insightful comments.

Unlike in the previous sessions, I started noting the visual effects alongside the content, and this tweet was my most-liked:

The film left me tearing up, and I summed my feelings up in my wrap-up Tweet for the session.

Hated in the Nation (Black Mirror S3E6, 2016)

This is my favourite discussion in the past seven weeks — I was truly engaged and learned from others’ points of view.

twitterdiscussion2

The episode of Black Mirror, with its shocking plot twist, urged me to make a strong final message — which was well received by my classmates, as some had even retweeted it.

As I have been treating my live-Tweeting progress as an object of a small and simple autoethnographic study, I have gained valuable insights about my development as a media student, mostly in online participation and content analysis. In the future, I would prepare more thoroughly beforehand — reading up on related topics, reading some reviews of the filmsmand their synopses — to be able to interact more with others, since it is those discussions that further enhance my understanding of subject materials and media texts presented (Morgan et al. 2015, pp. 45-46). Still, the experience was definitely positive, and I am content with what I have contributed to the online discussions.

Mia (Minh-Anh)

 


References

Morgan, RK, Olivares, KT, Becker, J, & Bichelmeyer, BA 2015, Live-Tweeting Documentaries in the Classroom: Engaging Students and Enhancing Discussions with Social Media, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Carpenter, J 2014, ‘Twitter’s Capacity to Support Collaborative Learning’, International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 2, pp. 103-118,

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