Monday, March 24, 2014

Conference Tweeting

I had a terrific time at SCMS this year. It was busy, but intellectually stimulating, and I'm happy to have seen and met so many great scholars in the four days I was there. The only part that's given me pause is my activity tweeting.

Cinema Journal asked me to participate in their collective live-tweeting at CJSCMSc. My experience was very mixed. On one hand, I'm honored to be asked, and I'm happy to give additional exposure to the papers I saw - the main reason I wanted to do this. Chris Becker did a terrific job setting up the CJ SCMS twitter with a variety of critical voices. (People were carping about segregation of media and film feeds, but there were some practical reasons for the split.) At least on the film side, we had a nice complementarity between our interests.

On the other hand, I've decided I'm not all that enthused by the live-tweeting format. Often I could not think of much to write on short notice and in short format, other than to provide capsule summaries of the argument. At which point, I feel like I'm simply doing the labor of providing an abstract that the author should be writing and that SCMS should be publishing with/alongside the program.

Perhaps a bigger issue is that Twitter is just not all that popular with film studies people, at least those in the areas of film history and film theory I work in. Don't get me wrong: I'm appreciative of all those that followed our feed and retweeted posts. And I don't want to discount the scholars whose posts I found informative. But at times it felt like I was tweeting to the ether. Whereas I see cross discussion and debates among the TV, media, or cultural studies scholars, for the more traditionally film studies side of things, that academic public sphere element can be missing. Honestly, I think the most dynamic public sphere activity was around the SIG-based accounts - perhaps unsurprising.

The best part of the experience was finding scholars on Twitter who I want to follow regularly. I'm sure I'm missing people I should be following.

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