Twitter as phantom limb

Take a moment to view a 10 minute documentary I created for my last class, Ethnographic Documentary. The name of the short film is Phantom Limb and it explores twitter and its many uses. Below is the description I wrote for the screening:

What are you doing? It is a simple question that may have a profound influence on the way in which we communicate, and it is the question that greets twitter users every time they use the service. In Phantom Limb we will explore the way in which twitter is connecting people as well as driving them apart, all with an inquisitive posture toward understanding how twitter is changing relationships, love, me, and you.

Once you view it, let me know your thoughts, specifically:

  1. How, if at all, is twitter changing the way in which we communicate?
  2. How, if at all, is twitter changing the way in which we relate to each other?
  3. Is twitter a passing fad or will it start a new communication phenomenon?
  4. Would you ever use twitter? Why or why not?
I tried to raise quite a few of these questions in my film, as well as others, but I know I don't have all the answers so I'd love to hear your perspective.

If you missed the link above, click here to view it on YouTube.

Thanks to all my interviewees, Greg Scott (my professor), and to the rest of my class for their support and encouragement.


Kevin Makice said...

This was excellent. You really captured the heart of the varied perspectives on what it is. I especially like that you found the critical voice in someone who had used it (or claimed to have used it) for a while. The descriptions captured in this video are likely to resonate in the community and in media coverage, once more people find this.

I especially like the claim that more awareness leads to more conversation. It is one of those emergent properties that is counter-intuitive to what the local behavior is about.

M Guy said...

Very Wesch - nice job!

Mark Neigh said...

1. Communication has become even more non-linear.
2. My analogies have changed - Twitter is more like the Christian's notion of the Holy Spirit: it collapses and dissolves space and time and creates unsegregated social community.
3. The foremost thinking behind Twitter is allowing users to access it from basically everywhere: email, apps, Netvibes, mobile, IM, and place you can stick an RSS feed, desktop widgets & c. This is the evolution of a communication phenomenon, and anyone building applications need to consider it.
4. I did and now do use Twitter.

DC1974 said...

Fascinating I was just at a presentation last night about Twitter and social media here in DC. I'm curious though where you are going to school -- I've have background in anthropology and design and media arts and am looking at grad schools now. So I'm trying to get a feel for what programs people have found.

T. Willerer said...


Thanks for the kind words. I'm in grad school at DePaul University in Chicago. The program name is New Media Studies. I'm happy to chat more about it if you'd like.


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