Twittamentary: the Twitter film that explores where social media is @ | The Guardian

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When Tan Siok Siok created a website asking tweeters to contribute ideas for a Twitter documentary she wondered if people would be willing to share their stories. The success of the crowdsourcing experiment took the film-maker and her crew on a fascinating journey, 140 characters at a time.


Siok soon realised that the story wasn’t in the microblogging site itself, but more in the relationships between the people using the social media platform. The documentary would avoid delving into technological issues and concentrate instead on narratives.


This search for a human angle is what makes Twittamentary so watchable. The introductory scene gives the viewer a brief grounding in what Twitter is and some of the numbers around the site – 350m tweets a day – to give a sense of scale. Then the stories take centre stage.


“There have definitely been seminal moments such as the Miracle on Hudson River story … that transformed journalists’ understanding of how Twitter fits into the news ecosystem,” said Siok. “Instead of dismissing Twitter as vapid or useless, journalists started to use it as one of their sources for information. Increasingly, journalists have taken on the role of curators, making sense of the raw information that are gathered by eyewitnesses or citizen journalists. One striking example is [US journalist] Andy Carvin from the National Public Radio (NPR), who came into prominence by curating social media sources on the Egyptian Revolution. The idea of someone becoming a star journalist by reading other people’s tweets and curating them for a larger audience would previously have been unthinkable.”……

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