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Chicago 2013 -- Open Blog for All Members
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Top tags: Blog  book launch  Conference  Kubrick 

Embracing Chaos: Social Media and Scholarship

Posted By Myles A. McNutt, Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 8, 2013

As I sat in on SCMS’ first ever livestreamed panel covering scholarly social media, I heard a number of interesting and thought-provoking considerations of how we can integrate social media into our academic lives as researchers, teachers, or even as members of SCMS. It’s an important conversation, one that I see as rational, logical, and entirely counterintuitive to how I see social media.

Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone else should necessarily see it this way, but there was much talk of discipline and order within the conversation, concerns over shaping or policing social media interaction into productive forms (whether through initial instruction or through grading criteria), and I don’t know if I’ve ever thought about Twitter—particularly—in those terms. Admittedly, I’ve never attempted to require or grade Twitter contributions, so I’m not suggesting that those involved were wrong to take this action. However, for me, the value of social media is less as a platform for carefully structured participation or engagement and more a platform for exploration, discovery, and chaos in its purest form.

The notion of harnessing chaos academically may seem somewhat dangerous, and it probably is. But for me there is tremendous opportunity in chaos, in using the openness of social networks like Twitter to reach out into the wilds of the Internet and see what happens when students enter into that space. When we developed a connected screening exercise at UW-Madison last fall, it was designed in part to lack this kind of structure. Although we organized a hashtag that students would use (providing structure and discipline to the exercise), anyone who followed any of my students (or myself as the person running the connected screening and tweeting about it to my own followers) could join in the conversation. Sometimes this simply opened up the conversation about a particular text to others spread around the world; other times it led to students’ friends creating fake accounts with which they could insult their friends, hoping that it would appear on the Twitter feed being projected in the screening room.

For me, social media works best when the outcomes are open to adjustment and variation based on how users choose to use a particular platform. The connected screening is meant to simulate the chaos of on-screen hashtags and livetweeting and the ways continued convergence of television and social media is an ongoing, unstable process. As much as I respect efforts to offer structure to Twitter experiences, and certainly feel that there are structures we can build within Twitter to enable and encourage class participation or performative research/scholarship among our students, I remain attached to Twitter as something that lacks the very control we seek in other areas of our teaching.

I feel any strategy for using Twitter in the classroom should be able and willing to evolve with how students explore the technology, and how individual groups of students respond to social media in different ways. The great thing about social media is that while it may rely on a central platform, the resulting discourse is just as reliant on how students choose to use it; while I certainly offer my students suggestions on what to do with Twitter, the most rewarding thing for me is seeing how they choose to use it in ways that I hadn’t intended, which I would argue are still tremendously productive if not predicted.

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Stanley Kubrick at Look Magazine

Posted By Philippe D. Mather, Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A shameless plug for my new book on Kubrick's photojournalism (cf. link below) and an open invitation for everyone to attend the book launch on Friday at 2:15 pm, in the Lakeshore Boardroom, 10th floor of the Drake Hotel. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Intellect Books and the University of Chicago Press. I will give a talk. Hope to see you there!

Philippe Mather (Film Studies, Campion College at the U. of Regina, Canada)

Tags:  book launch  Kubrick 

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Open Blogging

Posted By Elizabeth Ellcessor, Tuesday, March 5, 2013

For the past two years, SCMS has had featured bloggers providing ongoing online coverage of the annual conference. Featured bloggers have written about conference panels and workshops, about local events, about professional networking, and about their individual conference experiences. This year, we're thrilled to have Alexander Cho, Racquel Gates, Tim Havens, Alexandra Juhasz and Chuck Kleinhans!

In addition, this year features our first Open Blog, which is available for any member of SCMS who would like to write about their own conference experiences. Our hope is that this enables a broad cross-section of SCMS membership to promote, reflect upon, and share conference events with both those attending and those watching the conference from afar.

To post to the Open Blog, simply login to the SCMS site, then click "Join Group” at the top of the online conference hub page, follow the link to the open blog, and click "Add a Post."


Tags:  Blog  Conference 

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