Friday, July 3, 2015

Twitter As a Means of Digital Remixing: A critique of @remiholden #youthclinica15

"The Land of Now"
As part of the continued practice in digital storytelling, in INTE 5340 MA ILT at CU Denver, I will consume digital stories and offer critiques. Until now the course has focused on Jason Ohler’s assessment traits as criterions to assess stories. For the remainder of the critiques in the course, I will focus on “everyday remix practices” as described in the Lankshear and Knobel text New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, on pages 127-140.

As if it wasn’t hard enough to jump into a new practice, I would like to stretch the boundaries of what is defined in the ‘Lankshear and Knobel’ text under popular everyday remix practices. In fact, the remix practice I would like to briefly analyze is digital remixing of events as re-accounted over the course of a live event then selectively broadcasted on Twitter. Although I do not believe this is described in Lankshear & Knobel in chapter four as 'remixes of everyday practice,' I think this is a common remix, and in fact may be the most popular remix social practice today as millions of people do this around the world everyday. 

Let’s start with the definition of ‘remixing’ as Lankshear and Knobel define on page 96: “remixing involves taking cultural artifacts and combining and manipulating them into new kinds of creative blends and products” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 95). And as an example in everyday culture from the text, referring to Lessig: “At its most general, simple, necessary, and profound, remix is quite simply the idea ‘of someone mixing things together and then someone else coming along and remixing that thing they have created’ (Lessig 2005: n.p.)” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 97). Lessig then goes on to describe an account of a movie as it unfolds amongst friends and how that is in fact a remix in everyday life (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 97). Twitter can essentially be used in a similar fashion as reaccounting a movie amongst friends or with the rest of the world, and so much more.


It is with this understanding and interest in Twitter as a means for remixing that I would like to look closer at a series of tweets by @remiholden while he was attending #youthclinica15 with #Denver youth. on July 1st 2015. In short, I have come to know Remi as a higher ed educator that believes in the social practices of Twitter to further enhance educational experiences. It’s included in his endeavors to create concepts of relevant pedagogy and educational ecology. Remi’s tweets, as well as a few others also engaged with Remi on Twitter, who participated in the activity #youthclinica15 captivated me for several reasons, but most of which, the topics involved some things of interest related to my focal theme ‘the importance of creative arts in education’ and education reform in general. Plus, the larger issues of equity and community.

Framed in conjunction with the Lankshear and Knobel text:

Kind of Remix: Account of live event on Twitter (or Political Remix if one must be chosen from L&K text)

Three Literacy Dimensions:

  1. From political remix: “Requires being up to date with current news events, or familiar with significant social issues.”
  2. From political remix: “Identifying how to convey a lot of meaning in a limited amount of space or time.”
  3. From political remix: “Knowing how to tap into spaces where the remix is likely to attract widespread attention.”

“Requires being up to date with current news events, or familiar with significant social issues.”
Poem #youthclinica15

The denver youth brought up many important and meaningful topics based on current events. Mainly ideas of race and social class, such as over the past year police brutality against blacks in particular. The expression of these ideas as they unfolded in the pictures Remi shared from the events along with Remi’s texts were very powerful and shocking. For instance, a poem about police brutality that he shared was the first shock to me. It made me realize our youth are exposed to all of this hate and discrimination and they are internalizing and processing it and then sharing it in powerful ways. Another shocking story unfolded while looking at a vine that Joe Dillon shared that was part of the same text being created in another picture that Remi shared.

Vine #youthclinica15
The vine stopped before she finished what she was writing, but it looked like it said “Who do you call when the police kill…” Another shocking realization of the fear and insecurity black youth face. Needless to say, to engage in these topics one must be up to date with current events and social issues, which can be seen as Remi engages in tweets and retweets.

“Identifying how to convey a lot of meaning in a limited amount of space or time.”

Remi slays Twitter with masterful and poetic use of characters within the 140 character limit.

For example: “What are "real issues" in community? Youth asking powerful ?s abt equity, identity, priorities, change at #youthclinica15 #connectedlearning

He’s telling a story about denver youth asking questions, but he’s also asking the same questions to people on the Twitter space in a clever way. The use of abbreviations like “?s abt” disregarding the apostrophe and saying “questions about” help produce text that is within the character limit. Yet commonly used forms of abbreviations so the readers don’t have to work to decipher texts. While Remi was processing this text at the live event he’s probably multitasking so he has little time to produce this but the message is still very powerful and meaningful.

“Knowing how to tap into spaces where the remix is likely to attract widespread attention.”
"Help" ed reform #youthclinica15

“This seems oddly appropriate #edreform #edchat #connectedlearning at #youthclinica15

The Tweet that Remi shared that really caught my attention in regards to my focal topic was the picture of the drawn helicopter from “The Land of Now” activity / brainstorm / illustration. Next to the helicopter was a sticky that said “education reform.” This was both amusing and interesting with Remi’s comment “This seems oddly appropriate.” There was also a ‘help’ bubble and no other sticky notes around this. Possibly indicating that this is an uncertain area of concern. With this powerful and amusing image, Remi also added #edreform, #edchat, #connectedlearning at #youthclinica15. Adding this image in particular to #edreform and #edchat has potential to engage other people on Twitter as these hashtags have a wider audience of participators and readers around the topic of education. Another masterful and deliberate example of engagement on Twitter to perhaps attract more widespread attention.

All together the combination of artwork in conjunction with social commentary and engagement with activities was impressive and inspiring. It made me think about many issues in current affairs and how this impacts community and education. What’s interesting in regards to my focal theme is how this was drawn out through creative expression by the various means demonstrated at #youthclinica15. It makes me wonder why we don’t do things like this more often? Or why does it take this special event to have these creative social expressions?