A ‘mixed’ BCM325 live-tweeting experience.

As part of the BCM325 subject, students are challenged with the task of engaging in live-tweeting sessions during weekly screenings of various sci-fi films. 

As this is the first BCM subject that I’ve studied since my first year of university, I felt a little under-prepared for the task of live-tweeting. The experience so far has been an interesting, albeit humbling, one I admit. 

While this post intends to highlight the best of tweets and interactions resulting from the live-tweeting sessions I’ve engaged in so far, I believe it important to first take a brief look at some of the poorer quality tweets I’ve produced, to see the improvement and progression I’ve made so far across this semester. 

The very first screening, 2001: a space odyssey, saw me scrambling together a means to access the movie and a last-ditch attempt to remember my Twitter account details. I sat through the movie, overwhelmed, inattentive and unable to balance achieving the ‘ten tweets per screening’ quota with actively viewing the movie. It was a bit of a chaotic start to the semester to say the least and the tweets I published in Week 1 evidently reflect this:

They are misguided; using vague terminology and references, the tweets fail to engage with subject/lecture content and are mostly passive in their approach. While I did post some that included links to further resources and research, I felt at the time that I was almost copy-catting my peers and posting ramblings to meet the set quota. As a result, the tweets received minimal engagement and did not generate any discussion worth including.

The same can be said of my second round of live-tweeting, which was on West World (1973). Again, I was underprepared. However, as I had felt zoned out during the first screening, I made certain that I paid attention to this film. As a result, I became more focused on enjoying the movie, rather than producing the ten minimum tweets or engaging in discussion through commenting on other peer’s tweets. The resulting tweets were rushed and encourage only surface-level analysis. I did receive slightly better engagement during this screening compared to the previous weeks and this may be attributed to my use of question and postulation to invite discussion. 

Week three’s viewing of Blade Runner: the final cut (1882) was a game changer for the quality of my live-tweeting experience. It saw to the acceleration of my peer engagement, as I started to grasp a much greater understanding of the purpose of the task and the methods by which I could produce my content. I prioritised engaging in convivial discussions with my peers, rather than meeting the ten-tweet quota. 

By curating tweets, images and topical discussion points prior to the screening, I was better able to focus my attention on the subject matter of the movie and actively engage in peer discussion. I also found that through developing a solid understanding of the movie’s plot, characters and main themes before viewing the film, I was able to conduct more insightful analysis and thus provide more valuable commentary. 

A word doc containing pre-screening preparation for live-tweeting.

However, I noticed that at times my tweets were so long, people weren’t interested in interacting, especially during a high point of the movie. Tweets full to character limit of useful information, as opposed to those with a gif or image, were more likely to be pushed to the side and lost in the Twitter void. If I posted more than 2-3 tweets over a short period (such as my threads that were posted within 1-3 mins of each other), they would get lost under a mountain of other tweets and peers wouldn’t bother responding – retweeting my original tweets wasn’t an effective solution either. The drafted tweets were informative and somewhat reflective of lecture concepts and content, however the writing style may have been too formal and inorganic to be inviting for engagement.  

While my drafted tweets still gained attention, I found that my irreverent, memetic and more succinct tweets garnered more engagement. They were relevant to the film, less-wordy than some of my drafted tweets and were published in a matter of seconds in reaction to the film. Tweets that posed a question, drew a comparison, or contained a quote generated much more attention than other tweets. 

During the initial weeks of live-tweeting, I struggled to link my tweets to Future Culutres lecture content, however, during my most recent screening – Ghost in the Shell (1995) – I found a lot more ease in the process. I made sure to implement the improvements I had noted during previous weeks and so produced a series of succinct, introspective tweets. I focused more on engaging in commentary on other tweets rather than producing my own.

I also attempted to produce a poll for my peers to engage in and was rather hopeful it’d be a hit, however it received just one vote… my own! I’m not sure why the poll lacked engagement as other peer’s polls seem to benefit greatly from multiple interactions, but I will try the method again in upcoming screenings.

Unfortunately, I was absent for week five’s screening of ‘The Matrix (1999)’ and so missed out on the opportunity to live-tweet. I intend to view the screening so that I’m able to identify any valuable links and references to the film in upcoming screenings. 

The future of my live-tweeting experience: a future cultures ramble.

References:

PromoRepublic. 2021. What Is Live Tweeting and How to Do It Successfully. [online] Available at: <https://promorepublic.com/en/blog/glossary/what-is-live-tweeting/&gt; [Accessed 30 March 2022].

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