Twitter has completely changed the way I relate with my media studies colleagues. Scratch that: Twitter has allowed me to relate, communicate, share links, and throw around ideas with dozens of grad students, professors, and critics across the globe who are invested, in one way or another, in media studies. Two years ago, the only way to get in touch with this community would be at a conference, and even that would be difficult and pricey, to say nothing for the underlying awkwardness that afflicts academic meet-and-greets as a general rule.
Those unfamiliar with Twitter, or who join and find it useless, generally neglect the principle that makes Twitter run: it’s not so much about who follows you, but who you’re following. In other words, the only way to make it interesting and valuable — to make connections and find links and make it a utility in your research — is to follow people who are interesting and valuable and function, as odd as it sounds, as utilities.
The list below features Twitter Accounts that I’ve personally found consistently useful and valuable. These Twitterers post often (but not too often); they regularly lead me to interesting and diverse links; they retweet compelling links and ideas from the people that they follow. And some of them are funny to boot.
These are my seven, and they indicate my interest in contemporary Hollywood and celebrity gossip and culture.
Film Studies for Free/Catherine Grant: Many of us are familiar with Grant’s exceptional website of the same name. This points me there — and elsewhere — on a regular basis, linking to scholarship on a diverse range of films from all over the world that is free and accesible to all.
Michael Aronson: Mike may be my former MA advisor at the University of Oregon, but he’s also an accomplished film historian with a focus on exhibition in the silent era. His ‘Silent Cine Tip o Day’ takes me to newly restored streaming silent cinema, announces new Norma Talmedge DVDs, or alerts me of a new Oscar Micheaux concept album.
The Awl: The Awl is like Gawker reborn, with far less commercialism and huge implants of wit, sarcasm, and general alertness as to the state of our highly-mediated world. They don’t only talk about media, but they often do, and it’s always compelling. And all publications should learn from their clever Twitter headlines to tempt you to the actual article.
filmdrblog: The anonymous Dr. seemingly finds every piece of valuable writing on media studies on a daily basis. Magic.
Roger Ebert: Last week, Jezebel argued that Ebert has completely reinvented himself in the years since his cancer and surgery, and he’s more vital and honest than ever before. You see it in his columns and blogs, but you especially see it in his Tweets, where he comments on everything from politics to Joan Rivers.
RealityBlurred: “Andy Dehnhart babysits television’s bastard child.” And he does it very, very well.
James Poniewozik: Writes for Time on television and new media, but also runs an extremely lively account. In his words, “I wear your scorn like a badge of honor.” He’s incisive, and he even writes back, even to us minions!
So what are yours?