Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou, dismissed from the Olympics for a racist tweet

One of the most important – and complex – developments regarding media and the Olympics has undoubtedly been the integration of the Internet in the diffusion of information, images, and analyses.  Of particular note this year has been the place of Twitter in this evolving landscape.  Greek and Swiss athletes have been dismissed from the 2012 London Olympics because of Twitter posts, while a journalist has had his Twitter account blocked because of his repeated criticism of NBC, which has had its own negative impact on Twitter (among other stories).  And here is an article by legal journalist Trevor Timm on free speech issues generated by all this Twitter activity.

Currently, educators are capitalizing on the communicative possibilities of social media for their uses in the classroom, while they also wrestle with the challenges posed by the use of these types of Internet platforms in schools.  It is clear that the critical thinking skills that are at the core of media literacy education have become more vital than ever.  An earlier event from this summer demonstrated this clearly to me.  In France, a Twitter trending topic generated a rather humorous response from French comic Elie Semoun (who had already developed a rather thorny, and not funny, history with Twitter): “I confirm my death,” he responded from his Twitter account after the “story” of his death became a “news item” for a number of hours, having been stirred up by a flurry of Twitter posts.  This has happened to other celebrities, such as Paul McCartney, but this response by the “dead man” was particularly original.  All it required was a small dose of media literacy skills to figure out this was not news and certainly not reliable – and, as it turns, out, not true.  The importance of our abilities in analyzing, evaluating, and properly using media resources has been one of the key lessons of this Twitter-filled summer.

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One of the logos for the group responsible for the Kony 2012 Viral Campaign and 11 short films over the past decade.

Earlier this week, while my media class was working in groups on an upcoming project, one student turned to me and said, “Kony 2012.  You’ve got to check this out.  A major event is happening right now in how media works.  I’m not saying it’s good, but you should check it out.” Later during that same period, other students started talking about it; some had shared it from Facebook, some were talking about celebrity posts on Twitter, some were thinking about doing something in response to this piece.  The next day, I even heard 7th graders talking about it in a Middle School class that I teach.

Indeed, this week, a phenomenon burst into the scenes of social media, non-fiction moviemaking, and how moving images are functioning in our world today.  I would recommend for teachers and students to look at the Kony 2012 movie using the questions for Chapter 6, “Recording and Presenting Reality,” on pages 237-238 of Moving Images.  Notable subjects for discussion of this media document are the presence of director Jason Russell in the voiceover and images; the use of his young son as one of the primary figures in the images; the digital techniques used in the movie; and marketing methods employed by the filmmakers and this group.  Here is an excellent article from the New York Times on the phenomenon of the Kony Video going viral.  In addition, here is a one of the rare news pieces appearing in major media – in this case from Democracy Now – about the deployment of troops to Uganda by the Obama administration in October 2011.

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