Live-tweeting is an integral part of communications and media. It encourages me to engage thoroughly, think deeply, and share knowledge between my fellow students. This semester in BCM325, we’ve been tasked with live-tweeting a variety of movie screenings throughout history that tackle ‘future cultures’ in some form, and in doing so develop a deeper understanding of their themes and cultural significance.
I have never had trouble with tweeting, as four years of digital media at UOW has given me plenty of time to practice. However, it wasn’t nearly as easy to intertwine relevant content with the speed of live-tweeting, even with my experience. Our first week’s viewing was Metropolis (1927) and it proved that I was having trouble resonating with other students, as on the whole, my original tweets were not as successful as my retweets.
Sometimes I found myself focusing on elements of the films that were irrelevant to the class analysis of ‘future cultures’ themes. In 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), I was swept up in the stunning cinematography and orchestral score, a habit I’ve picked up from my interest in filmmaking. I like to think that these tweets performed well due to my unique viewing of the film through this lens. I don’t think it’s a downfall to view the films this way, but it is definitely distracting when I’m attempting to focus on the themes.
I also found that by linking the film to popular culture like Star Wars, my tweets resonated particularly well with the class. By linking foreign content to a well-known franchise, I was able to make the content more relatable – at least, that’s my hypothesis.
Our viewing of Westworld (1973) was particularly interesting for me, as I have watched the 2016 TV series based on the film and found that bringing my knowledge of the show resulted in high tweet engagement. The movie also raised a lot of questions for me, and I found that when I voiced these questions as tweets, they were received well among my classmates (and beyond in a few cases). Perhaps leaving room for discussion is the key to a successful and engaging tweet?
It seems to be a common theme in the class that the most popular tweets linked to popular culture or compared the films to real life in a humorous way. Perhaps this makes them more easily accessible, rather than relying on a theoretical understanding of the film – or maybe it’s simply because they’re good for a laugh. I also found that, similar to past weeks, my most engaging tweets for Blade Runner (1982) and Ghost in the Shell (1995) were related to cinematography and open-ended questions. It seems that I’ve found a formula that works.
It’s also worth noting that at this point in the semester, my tweets are performing almost 100% better than in Week 1. I suspect this is a product of my tweets’ quality improving and the class settling into the rhythm of live-tweeting each week.
Something I struggled to do throughout the first 6 weeks of tweeting was open a discussion thread. I could only find evidence of it happening twice, and each time it was successful in engaging multiple users with the ideas in my tweets. It’s something I’d like to try and incite in future weeks, as I believe it could help with my own engagement with the films.