Aylan Kurdi

It was very important to us that we placed Aylan’s death in context, with some serious reporting about what happened to him and the broader picture of current political and social attitudes towards refugees across Europe, particularly in Britain and Germany. I still think it was right to use the pictures, but I might be wrong about that, and I’m aware that good intentions and serious intent are not always enough. – The Guardian

The boy– Aylan Kurdi  is not just ‘the Syrian boy who drowned’ in early September. The context of the image was to illustrate the sadness of the refugee situation. However, it became an outcry for what seems to be all lost children of such tragedies. The author upon our search was not found but what was listed was newspapers from various regions in European that used the photograph when the story first broke, but to our research the first actual person who took and posted the picture could not be found.

The visual imagery appeals to the ethos of a person by not only the raw nature of the image but also the questions it rises such as: how many more children have died this way? and how many of these stories go untold?

This image went viral due to the fact that we believe it contained an innocent child who encapsulates the fight and struggle of the refugee epidemic. It circulated based on this heartbreaking fact that he had not only lost his home but now his life too due to this situation. As the image circulate we attached our own meaning and in doing so create our own story as to why this is relevant to our culture or even why it is relevant to read.

The meanings the picture took on were both negative and positive in cases. For instance, people took the image as a way to be proactive and pay tribute while others created memes mocking and taunting the situation.

When it came to researching the image and story it was shockingly simple due to the fact that all we had to search was ‘Syrian boy drown’, and in a fraction of a second we were flooded with millions of stories and images. This not only shows how much the story circulated and its virality.

The Impact of the Images & Videos

“Allocca explains there are three characteristics of the viral video that cause a spontaneous and rapid growth in views and cultural experience: tastemakers, creative participating communities, and complete unexpectedness (Cohen & Kenny 123) .”

Social networks are large communities of there own with videos that come and go everyday. The most recent video is of the Drake Hotline Bling music video.Drake’s video became an internet sensation for those three reasons listed in the quote. Viral videos have become such a large part of American because the element of surprise and the creativity that comes out of different discourse communities brings out a mixture of entertainment with internet success.

On the more serious side of viral media is the racial debates that come out of viral images. In the article Racist Visual Rhetoric and Images of Trayvon Martin, Lisa Lebduska explores the impact visual performances have on society. In the Trayvon Martin case the most direct influence on the views of the public came from the many ways the media and both sides portrayed Martin and Zimmerman.

“President Obama framed the event’s visual significance when he observed, “My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,”directly challenging the racist scopic regime he has confronted throughout his political career (Lebduska 2).”

Discourse communities can no longer argue that an image presented does not change and fuel racial debates. In Zimmerman’s trial the racial fuel that was allowed because of the uncensored distribution of images that show the same two people in multiple different lights.

The issue that I feel is most relevant in this matter is whether the image with ever stay true to its context. A common issue in racially fueled discourse is that a single image can change the course of a trial and erode the justice system as the meme does with politics.

My final thought on the viral video/image is this:

If an image has so much power, why can it not be used for the building up of a more sound culture?

Response 9- Viral Videos, Attention Structures, Visual Rhetoric

Every day when you log onto any social media platform you’ll see whats currently in the news, the weather and you’ll also see the current viral sensation. In some cases these are memes in others they’re videos. Take for instance the viral parodies of Drake’s song Hotline Bling over the course of a week these videos have been remixed with all sorts of intent, other dances, pizza making and more. They’re widely known now and every discourse community has had their hand in making a unique one.

So how do these things take off? Why do they take off? In the case of the Drake videos its because they’re funny and people loved to remix them, in other cases like the UC Davis incident of Lt. Pike pepper spraying peacefully protesting students for no reason, the videos go viral out of anger and support for those wronged. Very often on social media we see viral videos of excessive police force, animal abusers and other social justice issues. By sharing the video we show support, solidarity or complete opposition adding our two cents in with the share.

This is the case surrounding the visual component of the Trayvon Martin case. Lisa Lebduska goes through the viral web of images used to play the case out in the media in Racist Visual Rhetoric and Images of Trayvon Martin. “Power and inequality themselves have long been mediated by visual practices across and array of media” (page 1) she introduces the idea that racism, like many other global issues, is amplified and reinforced with the use of social media. When the Martin case hit the media it was met with a firestorm of circulation, prosecution and outrage. Battle lines were drawn and some virally reposted images of Martin as a wholesome family kid who was judged because of what he looked like, while others, including Zimmerman’s defense team, took typical teenage myspace images and blew them out of context in an attempt to make Martin a villain.

One of the most circulated images was the one of Martin and Zimmerman juxtaposed. It shows Martin smiling at the camera, the image of Zimmerman was a 2005 mug shot (page 2). This image was created to push public cry for the indictment of Zimmerman painting Trayvon as cherubic (page 3) and honest, using an image of him in a Hollister brand shirt which is often associated with middle class (page 2). Carefully choosing the image was everything as Lubduska points out it was “a martyred child is easier to convey than the nuanced complexity of a human teen…..” (page 4).

That then ties in to the statement made by Trayvon’s mother Sybrina “People want to make this a black and white issue, but i believe that this is about right and wrong. No one should be shot just because someone else thinks they’e suspicious” (page 3). In the media the story was pitched from as racial standpoint which is why the media in favor of indicting Zimmerman chose images of Martin smiling, with family and doing things like snowboarding over “human teen” behavior photos because doing so would only amplify the stereotypical images also circulating.

Whenever we see an image it is often always accompanied by a story, that story however does not always accurately depict the picture and vice versa. “…Images are not things. They are relationships that we create.” (page 6), this powerful closing is everything. Images are what we propagate them to be, when made viral they can have a lasting and dangerous effect.

The Syrian Boy [By: Samantha and Pamela]

What is the original context of this image (or images, since there were a series of them)? Who is the “author”? When/where/why was it taken (or created)?

A Turkish photographer took the picture of the boy, Aylan Kurdi  who washed ashore after the raft him and his family were on capsized in the sea. It was taken amid the height of the refugee crisis when thousands of migrants a day were fleeing into neighboring countries in desperation.

What kind of visual imagery does it involve? What type of argument does it make (including its emotional appeal)?

This is raw truth imagery, it called attention to the dire situation involving the refugees. There is little to no regulation on the transportation of the Syrians fleeing and most UE countries are reluctant to help making a humanitarian argument.

What about the remixes of this images? What arguments / appeals are they making?

(via google)

Images, remixes like this one are appealing to peoples emotional side, a call to be a human being. It’s tragic to see or hear of a loss of any child but more and more children like this little boy are dying on this dangerous and long journey out of Syria and through Europe. Many charities and organizations have tried to lend their hand in aiding these people and it provokes you as an individual to take action.


How did this image go “viral”? How did it circulate? Through what networks (social media & otherwise)? How did the consumers of this image become producers of new meaning?

This image was in several press sources. First in European press and then in western world press like the NY Times. Consumers of this image then turned around and shared their take on it, their stance on the issue and their tentative solution to it. Twitter was a big host for this image going viral, so many people retweeted and commented on this image, some conveying shock others disgust.


What meanings did this image taken on? How was it appropriated?

It took on a meaning of desperation, struggle, hardship and consequence. This image became the most powerful in framing the refugee crisis and the end that many families are met with when they try to flee the war torn country.

How did you go about doing your research here? Provide us with the citations / links you are looking at.

Pam and I used google, twitter and news sources like The guardian and Associated Press. We looked at what came up in text and in image and how the authors of those posts conveyed meaning. Some just bringing to light what’s really going on in Europe right now and others calling for humanitarian action and aide for these people who have no means to help themselves.


There is more that what meets the eye with Shia Labeouf’s “Just Do It” viral video. The video has transformed the Nike logo. In this video we are able to see the true effects of circulation of a medium. The video is to say the least subtle and gives a hard push to anyone who has been lazy in following dreams. Mr. LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö created the video with the intention of it being used for transformation. Since then the initial video has been remixed and transformed into various medias ranging from still images to song parodies. These have in turn have lead to more participation and involvement. This only leads to question what mediums have been created in such a way that not only provokes creation but also allows it as a part of its own creation.


Meme Presentation


When we think about how we communicate on a screen several things come to mind, text messages, emails, Facebook messages or maybe twitter. What we don’t think about is how these modes of communication change how we send each other information. As it says on page 90 of Chapter Four (Cohen and Kenny) “one of the biggest downsides of digital culture is transmission loss of meaning and depth in text in short messages”. This along with the combination of emoji’s and short speak make us pre programmed to keep it short and get to the point. It also opens the door to miscommunication because how I type something may not be the way its read by someone else, which can either be a funny misunderstanding or something more serious like offending someone.


Download (PPTX, 575KB)

Twitter: The power of a retweet



Twitter, launched on March 21, 2006, is a popular social media platform which has millions of users world wide. Twitter is unique because posts are limited to 140 characters, meaning you have to say what you want to say and get to the point.Twitter is used by many organizations to reach their customers, fans or supporters and to gain new marketing strategies. A powerful aspect of twitter though is a users ability to retweet posts, meaning you can forward, share and comment on things ranging from political posts, breaking news, weather and things as simple as comedy. Retweeting is both a blessing and a curse because a positive message as well as a negative one can be spread relatively quickly. There is no stopping a post once it gets going, even if the original poster removes the content its been copied so many times getting it back is almost never an option. However all in all twitter has a positive reputation in the social media community and continues to build its brand. Retweeting or just tweeting in general is specific to Twitters brand and it’s how people distinguish where a personal social media content came from. Donald trump has a major following and his tweets both good and bad get dragged all over the Twitterverse sometimes within minutes, showing just how quickly a retweet can spread.

Prezi Summary

This presentation was the first time I had ever heard of prezi let alone used it. I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge because it proves to be much more complex than power point. In my first ten minutes I had circles flying all over my screen, talk about overwhelming. Once I got the hang of it though I organized my content in sequential order, starting at what I was going to be talking about and then the sub topic within it. I typed out all the content and then I fixed the sizing, font and spacing. Once I had all my content in those tricky little circles I played with moving them around the screen and seeing where they looked best but also made the most sense. My big blunder though came when I added the background after I placed the circles, meaning I had to totally redo it when I chose the background.. oops! After all was said and done though I thought prezi was kind of cool though I didn’t find it to be more professional than power point.