Summary: Andrew Filippone Jr.'sThe Status Films is a four-part documentary series culled from thousands of public Facebook status updates. The film draws on the found-language from Facebook status messages to conjure up the sound and feeling of America's culturally impoverished. Filippone describes this exercise in ethnography via social media as "pleas, laments, hallelujahs, and indictments...echoes of familiar voices from a distant working-class world." All four parts of The Status Films are viewable online, in full, via Facebook. (Filippone cites Simon J. Charlesworth's "A Phenomenology of Working-Class Experience" as a key text influencing his project.) The film would work nicely in a methods class as an example of an innovative means of obtaining empirical data for what could be described as a netnography. Filippone describes his method as entering four separate, culturally-resonant queries into Facebook's internal search engine. Aided by screen capture software, he was able to code for themes, select the most relevant messages, and eventually reorder those messages for use in the documentary. Using the film, instructors might be able to engage students in useful discussion about the strengths and limitations of this approach for sociological work.
Submitted By: Andrew Filippone Jr.