Last week, our DH Lab involved everyone getting a Twitter account, learning about hashtags and then live-tweeting a clip from Last of the Mohicans. In some ways, the digital components of this term’s class are a little less ambitious than last term’s, as I am trying to respond to students’ criticism in the Women Writers class in Fall that we did a lot of digital work but it wasn’t tightly linked to the course content for a given week. (We always worked with women’s texts, for example, but they might be different from the ones we were reading on the syllabus. The annotation project, for example, involved obscure women writers that aren’t anthologized or even published outside the Brown Women Writer’s Project.)
So, since we were reading James Fenimore Cooper, the Twitter exercise allowed for a direct engagement “lite” with the text, via Miami Vice director Michael Mann’s version of the story. And it didn’t hurt that Daniel Day Lewis starred twenty years ago playing Natty Bumppo. We’ve talked a lot about his Lincoln this term.
Here’s the Storify of the Tweets from the live tweeting activity and the student instructions for the DH lab. There were more than 120 tweets during the 25-minute film clip. Since this is an entirely new class for me, I can’t take the time to create a really meaningful Storify with organized commentary, but for now they are curated. In yesterday’s DH lab I showed students the Storify; no one in the room had heard of it and we had a brief discussion about the genres that are springing up via social media and I suggested that at the very end of the second American Lit survey we might want to consider this genre of writing.
Live Tweeting Last of the Mohicans
NOTE: DO NOT LIVE TWEET AT THE MOVIES! It is rude and distracting.
Learning Goals of this exercise:
- Use 21st century social media to comment upon a late 20th century Hollywood film adaptation of an early 20th century film adaptation of a 19th Century colonial American novel of an 18th century war between the English, the French and the Mohican and Huron tribes of North America.
- Participate in the “culture of academic reputation” that emerges when a Tweet is interesting enough or engaging or useful enough that it gets “Retweeted” and thus develops a following.
- Establish a Twitter account if you don’t already have one.
- Learn how to create #hashtags for a community of peers interested in the same topic or idea
- Practice using the 140-character constraint to make meaningful comments that contribute to a dialogue about an event (such as our clip from Last of the Mohicans).
- Establish a Twitter account if you don’t have one. For more info on Twitter for beginners is here.
- You can establish a new account just for this class if you wish, as I have done. My handle is @DocMcGrail.
- Post your handle in the Digital Humanties Lab #4 so that everyone can find you and follow you in this class. If you don’t want your social tweets from the rest of your life to be followed, create an Eng253 or LCC handle for yourself. Twitter lets you have as many as you’d like.
- Go to Twitter.com
- Follow instructions for signing up, and sign in to Twitter
- Once the film begins, create 140-character comments on the film using the hashtag #LCCeng253 at the end of your tweet.
- Be sure to use #LCCeng253 so that all of today’s tweets will show up on the same page.
Some prompts for tweets:
- Something from the film triggers a memory or a thought related to our other readings or discussions in class.
- Something from the film runs counter to your understanding of history or culture of the time—either of 1826 when Cooper published the novel or 1757 when the novel is set.
- Something startles or surprises you.
- Something that impresses or engages you particularly about a scene, an actor or dialogue.
- You come up with something witty to say about the film that you think might be interesting to your peers.
As you are reading other students’ tweets, when you find something interesting, “retweet” it! This will share your peer’s tweet with your followers, and build your peer’s reputation. At the end of class, we will be able to see whose tweets get the most RT’s.