Social Media Memorialising and the Public Death Event

Digital Culture Research Network presents a DCRN Forum with Dr Sasha Scott.

There are certain deaths that impact the public in such a way as to be seen as exceptional, morally significant, and socially traumatic. Individuals such as Jyoti Singh, Michael Brown, or Aylan Kurdi have captured the world’s attention, their deaths speaking to a global audience of corruption, betrayal and neglect. Whilst we experience these deaths through media in one form or another, our responses are primarily shaped by this perception of social injustice.

Social Media Memorialising (SMM) is a conceptual framework developed for understanding what people do online in reaction to these deaths. It captures a coming together in shared emotion made possible by networked media, online platforms, and UGC: it is the expression of sympathy on Facebook, the hashtag of solidarity on Twitter, and the sharing of a tribute video on YouTube. These are small, potent, symbolic acts of defiance, pain, anger and loss that have a cumulative performativity which serves to shape both the social significance of the event, and the attitudes regarding its causes.

At the DCRN Forum, Dr Sasha Scott — an interdisciplinary researcher whose work explores the cultural, social and ethical implications of new media and digital technologies — will discuss the research that underpins this theorisation of SMM, exploring how and why we might think about social media as spaces of ritualisation.

Dr Scott is currently project leader of the Digital Transformation Initiative at the European Broadcast Union in Geneva, working to support public service media as they transition from broadcasters into interactive, social, multi-platform organisations.

The Digital Culture Research Network, based at the University of Nottingham, welcomes those interested in interrogating the significance of the digital, inquiring into how and if it mediates daily experience, power relations or symbolic, embodied and collective meaning making.

The DCRN Forum is our flagship series, to support and featuring early-career reseachers to share their exciting, new research and also their postgraduate experiences. These sessions also serve as a chance for attendees to network with others who work in the area of digital research; each Forum is followed by a casual reception.

Book your attendance via EventBrite.

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