VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE: WHEN A DISRUPTIVE MEDIA EVENT TRIGGERS AN ONLINE COCOON COMMUNITY

Abstract : This study examines the integrative nature of a disruptive media event, the Virginia Tech massacre, in relationship to the way it is experienced by 124 YouTubers from the day of the shooting to six weeks later in order to question communal association in the new media setting. The analysis of the narrative structure of tribute videos highlights the public expression of emotion that materializes through a digital spontaneous shrine. A cocoon community is forged through performative acts of language, material practices and self-recognition, and is underpinned by a common narrative whose terms aim at demonstrating social unity. By means of this new ritual of participation, those affected by the social ordeal, yet unbound by pre-existing ties or previously engaged in YouTube, come together online. The participants engage in a transformative process as a state of individual grief and sadness evolves towards one entity, uniting against the perpetrator. By engaging in this community, one can answer a need for togetherness, take support offered by others, and leave this experience behind under the impression they have united with society as a whole. In this sense, participation in cocoon communities reinforces autonomy by gathering strength from the community but without the constraints and responsibilities attached to pre-existing or lasting ties.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00835851
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Submitted on : Friday, June 21, 2013 - 3:39:52 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 5:58:07 PM
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Nathalie Paton. VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE: WHEN A DISRUPTIVE MEDIA EVENT TRIGGERS AN ONLINE COCOON COMMUNITY. Cocoon Communities: Togetherness in the 21st Century, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.81-104, 2013, (13): 978-1-4438-4242-6. ⟨halshs-00835851⟩

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