Upon reflecting on my initial set of curated tweets from this subject after the mid-session break, I noticed that there seemed to be a direct correlation between the sharing of articles (as opposed to simply offering hot takes or pieces of trivia) and lower levels of engagement. Rather than fretting over whether I should share more articles (specifically academic ones as well as web articles) or offer more ridiculously niche references exclusively, I elected to do focus somewhat more on the former, which, confusingly, allowed me to produce higher value memes to cover the latter. After a two-week break without livetweeting, my contributions to the Week 8 screening initially seemed somewhat forced, but began to reflect this observed trend almost immediately. An impromptu thread outlining Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robots gained a handful of likes and retweets, but zero engagement – by contrast, sharing academic articles did surpringly well when compared to non-academic articles, with users from outside the subject also joining in the conversation.
While a number of my peers found it easier to prepare tweets or academic links to simply be copy-pasted into the Twitter feed during the screening, my preparation was limited to some basic preliminary research on the subject matter – while this did affect the quantity of tweets I was able to put out, having not pre-written too many, I was able to create a smaller number of more impactful tweets throughout each screening. This particularly assisted me with the screenings of both Robot and Frank and Marjorie Prime – I was able to utilize my experience of having an elderly family member in a nursing home and increasingly requiring more assistance with her activities of daily living (ADLs), as well as having worked for a public health think tank previously, to dig deeper into the underlying subject matter and produce arguably better tweets. My engagement numbers did noticeably increase in these two weeks.
Again, I’ve found that getting engaged in lengthy threads picking apart specific aspects of a screening seems to be my one major stumbling block – perhaps it’s due to the fact that I try to enjoy the film as well as following the rule of quality over quantity in tweeting, perhaps it’s a reflection of me as a more introverted person. Having said this, in the final two weeks, I found myself being able to move past this, particularly where a film was longer: Blade Runner 2049‘s slow-burn pacing allowed me to focus more on engaging with other students, even if the subject matter wasn’t entirely related to the film, or was more focused on novums in general. This was especially true as more and more Australian Twitter users noticed #bcm325 trending as the semester went on – engagement with users from outside UOW altogether was quite enjoyable, and gave me an opportunity to sell the subject to outsiders.
Dropping the frequency of more memetic tweets also allowed for an increase in quality – I’m particularly proud of this tweet, as it allowed me to bring in high-value The Simpsons formats.
I haven’t done away with the niche references to obscure pop culture, either – this continues the trend of drawing on my own oddly specific sense of humour to have a bit of fun with the livetweeting.
Overall, I’ve loved the experience of livetweeting films – I’ve felt that I’ve developed a decent strategy that comprises 70% more academic engagement and 30% more irreverent content, and having an imaginary of the future to refer to each week has helped me conceptualise the subject material as the semester went on.