The Attention Given to the Tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s Death

According to Haffner and Jones, “attention is distributed not only across screen space and virtual space, but also across physical spaces” (86). This rings true in the horrific event of the death of Trayvon Martin which gave rise to the ongoing discourse of racism.

In the simultaneous productions of discourse communities geared towards the tragedy, these discourse communities structured their attention first by interacting with each other via visual images of both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Photos surfacing onto the internet depicted Trayvon Martin as one of three different characters: “a true the black child, a menacing black criminal, and an average teenager” (Lebduska 1). Discourse communities surrounded the ongoing case by distributing their attention in a particular communicative situation by understanding cultural conventions and regulations  surrounding the case.  Ultimately, that is determined by what each individual discourse community sees and how they see it.

Discourse communities that arose to advocate for or against both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, were influenced by three characteristics described by the linguist Ron Scollon as :

1. As persons  with all of their memories and experiences to the social relationship they have with other people

2. The relationship they have with other people.

3. The kinds of communication tools that they have to help organize attention in specific areas.

“Digital media are having an effect on the kinds of attention structures that people adopt in a whole range of different situations” (Jones & Haffner 88). The distribution throughout the internet also brought about the social action of physically commit together outside the realm of the web to advocate for justice for Trayvon Martin. Attention is distributed amongst mental structures, social relationships and communication tools and in the case of the George Zimmerman trial; mental structures formed discourse communities within the web, social relationships emerged due to the discourse communities within the web, and through the communication of technological tools, both the discourse community and social relationshipswere able to thrive.

At the same time,  “digital media and the internet facilitate participate in this economy, by creating new channels for distributing attention” (Jones & Haffner 90). Because there were multiple photos circulating the internet, people were able to focus their attention on their perspective of Trayvon Martin. Was he just an innocent victim who was killed because of the color of his skin?  Or was he a ruthless thug that had it coming to him?  Variations of his photos convey a different interpretation for a lot of different people. The only two people who truly knew him was his parents and people only speculate and force their opinions onto society because digital media grants the affordance of letting anyone say how they think and feel about situations.



Newspaper to News Blog

This blog is about how news reporting and viewing has changed since the evolution of digital media. The number of people getting their news from blog instead of the traditional mediums of newspapers and radios has drastically declined.  In comparison, the number of people who turn to news blogs to discover facts, views, and perspectives on stories is on an upward trend.  In this blog, I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of getting the news though digital media. I hope to make the point that the news is just as important as it always was but now we can have more of a connection to it.

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“Mediated Me”

In Chapter 1 “Mediated Me” examined many aspects of how digital literates affect our human existence. Throughout the chapter, I found myself asking many questions, questions I’d never once considered. There is an emotional impact that technology has had on each of our lives that we are not necessarily aware of. The themes that are prominent throughout the chapter are creating deep relationships, the way technologies have the ability to change how we think, the impact it has on the “being” and it’s moral implications. I’ve always imagined that technology has provided an opportunity for men and women to create “tools” to make life simpler but now I realize that it doesn’t end there. The technologies that are being created have essentially stripped us from our once ethical nature and created a world filled with more complexities than what we could have ever imagined.

The chapter also sparks the idea that maybe the world was created with a dichotomy idea and it was only through technology/tools we have come to realize it. But how did it all start? It started with writing, without the invention of writing, humans would never have evolved to what we are today. The evolution of tools and technologies have brought us to where we are today. Many can argue that there is good and bad to those tools however, I believe everything was created with a dichotomous intention. Maybe the entire world was built upon opposing forces and through writing we are able to recognize those characteristics. Even as I am typing, there is someone who will not agree with my view and maybe that is the way it is meant to be.  With our dichotomous views, we also have the conflict of our social identities that are being constantly challenged. Our egos are being reinforced and being rejected by digital media, it is a vicious cycle that we are all a part of whether or not we choose to partake in it. We cannot escape the inevitable of succumbing to new forms of tools/digital technologies because they have become an extension of us, as Mumford says.

I wonder if there was ever a time of not having to “present” ourselves to one another. Was there ever a time that humans did not wear a social mask, or have the need to have “tools/things” establish validation for themselves and the likes of others. I guess we will never know. . .


Several months ago I wrote a post titled “Traces,” which takes a look at the traces we leave on the internet.