Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Twittamentary Documentary- What's Your Twitter Story?

Remember the days when you would sign onto AOL and you would get the modem sound.   The sound you probably still have memorized and would still recognize it if you heard it today.    You know the sound..... when your dial-connection goes through and the words, "You've Got Mail" come from a male's voice.    Those were the days huh?  Well the days back in the 90's but not anymore!    Now technology has no dial-up sounds, instead we have notification sounds or images to alert us when our social media platforms have a new message.    We don't have to wait for our connection to go through every time with sign on and off., instead we can stay signed-in for as long as we want.   We can access and be in communication with people anytime, in any place, through multiple platforms all at the same time!   How is that for system overload?

So what if I told you that social media changes people's lives?  Changes lives in a way that you may not think possible?   In a place, a community where you can engage, share information, and learn from people you have possibly never met face-to-face.   Would you believe me or think I have a screw lose?    In truth, this world/place/community happens to be called Twitter and it is forever changing the way we interact, engage and share information in today's society.     So where am I going with this?    Let me try to explain and show you what I mean. 

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to go see a documentary that exemplifies how Twitter is changing the world and lives of others.   The film is called Twittamentary; filmed and produced by Tan Siok Siok from Singapore, China.   Brilliant, talented woman who too is infatuated by the power of Twitter and wanted to capture its power through film.  (Most of the stories filmed were submitted to Siok Siok via Twitter).

Director- Tan Siok Siok

So what is Twittamentary and what does that word even mean?  Twittamentary is a documentary about the popular micro-blogging service, Twitter, that is crowdsourced by social medians world wide.   This film shares real-life stories of how Twitter works and is intertwined in our daily lives.   Twitter accelerates serendipity.     Bonds are forged as a result of unexpected encounters between strangers as they share moments of their lives in real time through the social media platform of Twitter.

Have you ever heard someone say, that they have been changed?   Changed by an experience, interaction, or a moment?    May be you have even told someone this before.    I can honestly say that I had an experience, last Wednesday that "changed" me inside.   The moment that really struck me deep inside my heart was when AnnMarie Walsh, one of the main featured stories throughout the film spoke at our screening in Chicago.

The Inspiring Story:
Her story is incredibly moving and made me fully see the real impact and influence Twitter has on others.  AnnMarie was homeless in Chicago for over five+ years and was determined to find a way to get herself out of poverty.   She began visiting the Chicago Public Library (since it is free) to use the internet and stay abreast of news and society.   After seeing articles about Twitter in the newspaper day after day, AnnMarie wanted to see what  it was for herself.   She created a Twitter handle called @PadsChicago and began writing tweets about her thoughts and after time, people began to follow her.   She began to receive tweets from followers asking her what they could do to help her.    People wanted to send her items like clothes, blankets, food.    Suddenly she found herself in a world where people were identifying her as someone in need of assistance.   As a result, AnnMarie created a blog that is her "wish list" of items that she was in need of so people who wanted to help her could pick from her list.  (hence creating her own micro-blogging service)   (Even if you are not on Twitter, I highly recommend you see her Twitter profile and read her blog).

Photo by Paul Saini- AnnMarie Walsh

I don't want to spoil her story too much, but in short, she has used Twitter as a way to journal her journey from homelessness to being taken into Deborah's Place here in Chicago.   Today, AnnMarie has been on Twitter for almost two years now and continuing to use Twitter to help not only herself but other homeless people throughout the country.   AnnMarie came up with the Twitter handle Pads Chicago, because homeless people really don't have a word, name, or term in common and she wanted it to be something homeless people could relate too.    Eventually AnnMarie decided to use the word "Pads" because majority of homeless people sleep on a Pad.   A Pad that they call their own.  Pads Chicago- because AnnMarie lives in Chicago on a Pad ( before Deborah's Place).   This is where it really struck me and even as I type now my heart drops.....   Moving isn't it?

Today, AnnMarie's blog and Twitter handle, Pads Chicago, has become a site intended to serve as a tool to the homeless community, run by a homeless person (the one and only- AnnMarie Walsh herself).   Homelessness is a fast growing problem facing our country in light of the current economic crisis.  Pads Chicago contains resourceful information, downloads, links, and chat, including positive and negative feedback by members regarding their experiences.    AnnMarie's outlook is to let people know about these issues and encourage everyone to work in a team effort to combat the homelessness problems and related issues our society faces.  By AnnMarie sharing her story in this film, she is continuing to make an impact not only on the causes she addresses but how remarkable Twitter truly is. 

Photo by Paul Saini at MorningStar Chicago

Photo by Paul Saini at MorningStar Chicago

Have I motivated you to want to see the film?   Imagine how I felt after seeing this film.    In two words- awe struck.    For those of you who know me...... I LOVE Twitter.   Seriously.   I have what some Tweeters call a #TwitterCrush on Twitter.   This film enhanced my love obsession with Twitter to a whole new level and I am perfectly okay with it.   Even my boyfriend jokingly says I am dating Twitter because I spend more time engaged on Twitter than I do with him on a daily basis.    I would love to see how many people grow more infatuated after seeing this documentary and/or  how many people are motivated to join Twitter themselves after wards. 

One of the biggest take-away points I received from watching this film is this.   "Twitter has changed the way we do story-telling.    It breaks the 4th wall.  It shapes our identity."- Siok Siok.

"Twitter is not going to kill journalism it is just going to be part of it!" ~ quote from film-  this was another aspect of Twitter that the film touches on.  They featured the man, Janis Kruns who was on the scene when a plane crashed into the Hudson River.   His photo and tweet was retweeted over a hundred times within an hour before the news went live on TV and radio.   Crazy isn't it?   Or may be you found out like most people about Bin Laden's death on Twitter before on TV?  

This is turning into a REALLY long post and I apologize.   As you can see I am clearly moved, passionate, and infatuated with the film #Twittamentary and the power of Twitter.

Final Thoughts and Comment:
The other cool thing about this film is that every person who was featured in the movie, Siok Siok had their Twitter handle on the film, so people watching the film were tweeting in real-time AT the person they were watching.   I actually am following everyone in the film, some of who I have been following/engaging with prior to the screening.   During the film, attendees were following the #Twittamentary hashtag (hence the # in front of Twittamentary in my post) and all tweeting during the screening using the hashtag.   It was SO COOL.   I was having conversations with people in the screening room at MorningStar Chicago with people I have never met face-to-face or followed on Twitter before the screening.     Oh the power of Twitter.

Siok Siok has talked about the documentary being shown in upcoming film festivals and should you have the opportunity to see this film- PLEASE DO!   I mean it.   It will change your views and opinion of social media and Twitter.  I promise you- if not I will send you a Starbucks gift card for a coffee on me.

My Questions To You:
With all of this being said, I would love to know your thoughts and comments about the documentary, the power of Twitter, etc.   How do you view Twitter?   Have you had a moment where you were awe struck by the impact Twitter has on today's society?    Do you use Twitter?  If so, what is your reasons for using this social platform?   What's Your Twitter Story?  I would love to hear from you.... 

* Special thanks to Paul Saini for allowing me to use your photos and for Siok Siok for creating this amazing film.

1 comment:

  1. hello, i had to point this out. singapore isn't in china, it's a country on its own. so "singapore, china" isn't correct!