A rant, a response, a reading

How can social media be used to create an interactive documentary?

In all of the interactive documentaries we have looked at in class, have any of them involved the use of a flash mob? I feel like we are looking at two different uses of social media, for two different results. This has been a bit confusing within our group when discussing what to do for our major assessment task. Half the group has been focusing on the flash-mob side of it, trying to think of an interesting idea that will resound with what a ‘flash mob’ is. As Judith Nicholson puts it:


“Unlike other mobs, flash mobs had no leader, responded to no particular issue and had no specific mandate.”


Focusing on the task this way prompts us to look at ‘public disturbances’, or events in public places that will draw attention, and possibly amusement.


However, the other half of our group has been focused on the final goal of creating an interactive documentary. Therefore, ideas from these few people have revolved around audience participation separate from an actual event.


It is actually a really difficult task to collate the two different ideas of what we are supposed to be working towards, as it seems that this is two separate results combined into one assignment.

  1. Use social media to stage an event/flash mob
  2. Encourage participation and the use of social media AT and AFTER the event/flash mob, in order to create a prototype for an interactive documentary.


This could have been spelled out clearer on the assignment sheet – it is causing so much confusion within our group!


In answer to the prompt however, I think the task we are carrying out is not the most effective way to produce an interactive documentary using social media. Social media in its very essence draws people together virtually, not physically. People are rarely concerned about actual events outside of the virtual communication sphere (i.e. in reality). I feel the best way to create an interactive documentary would be to encourage people to contribute via social media, collecting their own material from their own lives and experiences, and bringing that together on the online format. This is what was done in ‘Highrise’, and it is really effective!


Online communities are created ONLINE. They require time to set up, as people with the same sets of interests/humour/ideas need to be given the ability to find each other. The most important aspect in using social media to create a collection of participatory responses in a documentary format is TIME – something we are not provided with for our assignments.


Finally, I just wanted to make a comment about the Nicholson reading. It was good, but it is like 10 years old! I think this makes it pretty irrelevant. It speaks of the ‘decline’ of the flash mob, which obviously hasn’t happened, and focuses on very small events. There is also little mention of dance flash mobs, which I think have become very prevalent as just a flash mob on its own for the heck of it, as well as an advertising technique (as discussed in an earlier post).

Making Do with What We’ve Got

In everything we do, I think we apply our own ideas and practises to it.
De Certeau has a lot in common with Adrian’s lectures and ideas I found while doing the reading. Adrian shuns the way society works and (especially) how VCE asses us, in much the same way that de Certeau recognises.

What is counted is what is used, not the ways of using. (pg. 35)

I feel this is true for a lot of academic study, when perhaps it shouldn’t be. Assessors look for specific keywords and a particular structure or layout in assignments/essays etc, not necessarily how information has been used and deciphered. How many awesome and intelligent students didn’t excel in VCE because they failed to use the basic “TEEL” essay structure (ew)? It’s sad that we’ve been conditioned like this, to follow a articular pattern and not make use of what information we have in the creative way that best suits us.

De Certeau uses the example of “a North African living is Paris or Roubaix”:

[he] insinuates into the sustem imposed on him by the construction of a low-income housing development or of the French language the ways of “dwelling” (in a house or language) peculiar to his native Kabylia. (pg. 30)

People considered ‘foreign’ in a certain country have simply found their own way of coping in the new environment – and that’s pretty cool!

It’s no different, really, to the work we carry out in this course. We “make do” with what we have. We are not all magical media students with shiny Macbook Pro laptops and digital SLR cameras that produce “spectacular” work by the world’s standards, but we use what we have (our iPhones, crappy old digital cameras, webcams, Samsungs, and so on). We just use what we have.

And from what I’ve seen, people can produce amazing work even when they don’t have the equipment to fit that stereotype of “Media Student”.


Having read the set reading for this week, I wonder why it was chosen for us? And what does it have to do with what we are learning/doing/creating/pondering?

Honestly, I skimmed over the reading in half-interest, half-desire-to-put-it-down-and-go-outside-in-the-sun. Perhaps I didn’t ‘notice’ as much about noticing as I could have, had I not noticed my intense restlessness and want of movement. However I managed to be provoked to underline several concepts. Firstly, a paraphrase from Schon:

…reflective practice requires ‘living in’ and not mere occasional attendance.

And another intriguing statement:

Noticing itself is something that happens to us, not something we do deliberately… You can ‘decide’ to notice some thing or some feature, but it may or may not happen.

This especially resounded with me just moments ago as I was looking over my mum’s shoulder, helping her with an iPad game. I don’t know what it’s called, but it is sort of ‘Where’s Wally’ style in that there is a jumble of images and you must find certain objects within the picture. I am given the word ‘tractor’, and my eyes scan all the tiny images as I think ‘surely as soon as I look at the tractor I will notice it’. But alas… several minutes later I swear I have scanned the whole screen several times and not seen the tractor! Yet there it is, small yet there, obvious to me only when I truly notice it. And in this case I couldn’t control my noticing, it just happened when it happened!

One thing I noticed as I looked through my sketches from last week, and then proceeded to check out some other students’, was that I am more drawn to simple sketches. The first one I found was one by Jordan, simple yet effective. I love the fact that a story is told in that one “long shot” (10 seconds, lol). I felt embarrassed almost that my sketches were filmed on an SLR camera (just because it was there – I don’t really know how to use it), and I spent a few minutes editing on Final Cut Pro, yet here was a film of similar, if not BETTER, quality just shot at a desk in a few seconds. Hmm.

You will notice in my films this week I went a lot simpler. No editing whatsoever. No music added. Just raw ‘experience’, in only one take. I wanted to capture the true essence of what I really ‘like’ about these things, and how I see and experience the various colourful things. Hopefully in this way, you will notice what I noticed while filming.