Thursday, 12 June 2014

Tweets and The Streets: A video interview about Paolo Gerbaudo’s book

By Jamileh Kadivar, student in the MA in Social Media at the University of Westminster.

Watch the video here

The video I produced is an introduction to Tweets and The Streets: Social Media And Contemporary Activism, a must read and a great book with lots of interesting insights and a strong research foundations. The book was written by Paolo Gerbaudo and published by Pluto Press in 2012.

The video includes two interviews. In the beginning, I present the main arguments of the book and introduce the author as an academic, a journalist and also an activist; then, you can watch the interviewees' replies to my questions. Finally, I present my own conclusion.

The first interview was conducted with Paolo Gerbaudo on March 2nd, 2014, by Skype. Dr. Paolo Gerbaudo, a lecturer in Digital Culture and Society at King’s College London, answers questions about the key terms in his book, such as 'choreography of assembly' and 'choreographic leaders', and then explains how he defines leadership. He also challenges techno-optimistic and techno- pessimistic views and discusses the theoretical approach he took in the book. He narrates why he selected the 2011 movements, considering that there were also movements in the years before 2011 that have used social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as mobilizing tools. He also explains why out of so many movements, he chose the Arab Spring in Egypt, the Indignados movement in Spain, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. He talks about the more recent events in Egypt and argues that what happened there in 2013 was a coup, and not a revolution or an extension of the 2011 Egyptian movement. He describes the main differences between anti-globalization movements and street protests clearly in this video.

My second interview in this video was conducted on March 5th, 2014. It is a face- to-face discussion with Dr. Miriyam Aouragh, an expert in social media and social movements, and a lecturer in the University of Westminster. She has written a review of Paolo Gerbaudo’s book. In this video, she speaks about the book's strengths and discusses her views and criticisms regarding the book in a fair and clear way.

Making a video for me, as a person without any previous experience in movie-production before this stimulating and challenging experiment, at first seemed something strange and far-fetched! At this time last year, I did not have a clue of how to do it. But now, I think it was both an interesting and fun activity that added well to the theoretical aspects of our modules. But still I'd rather prefer to write 10 essays than to make a video!

Last, but not least, the book is very well written and easy to read, not only for academics, but also for journalists, activists and ordinary people. I hope this video assists you to find good information about Tweets and the Street’s main ideas. I think, watching this video, before starting to read the book, can be helpful to get a good overview of the key arguments.

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