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Archive for the ‘Zombies’ Category

The following was originally posted on Wikinomics.com on July 4, 2008.

I just watched George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead last weekend. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s your typical zombie apocalypse movie – the reanimated dead wreck havoc, attempting to eat the living; mass hysteria ensues; a small band of survivors kill zombies in gruesome ways until they realize in inevitability of their fate. Now, for the non-zombie fans, the interesting thing about this particular movie is the sub-plot that tells of the group of film students’ need to document the end-of-days (kind of similar to the movie Cloverfield). Now, I’m not one to argue the “facts” in a film about zombies, but here’s where it gets a little whacky. The movie postulates that if there was a zombie apocalypse, the fall of big media would result in bloggers taking over, leading to infinite voices and more spin:

“The mainstream had vanished with all its power and money. Now it was just us, bloggers, hackers, kids. The more voices there are, the more spin there is. The truth becomes that much harder to find. In the end, it’s just noise.”

Clearly, George did not read Wikinomics. It’s true that big media would fall with studios being overrun by the living dead, and that bloggers and citizen journalist would carry on. But all accounts we’ve seen of bloggers and citizen journalists suggest that the more eyes you have on a story and the more voices you have reporting, the less spin there is. In fact, the truth is usually obfuscated by big media, not the other way around. Moreover, in times of crisis, we’ve seen that small groups of individuals working together online have been extremely affective at mobilizing aid and sharing information – just think of the Katrina People Finder Project.

The second question raised in the Romero movie is whether or not Web communication would go down in a time of war. When the band of survivors’ Web feed dies part way through the movie, one of the characters notes:

“The f#*#@!% service is going down… there’s nothing… how could there be nothing. The relay towers are out.”

Seems a bit simplistic. I mean, what about cell phone networks, satellite communications, and personal LANs? Maybe I’m wrong, but would think that the Internet would carry on even with limited human involvement. Maybe power would be first to fail, leading to other outages? Hmm… Note to self: In case of zombie war, be sure to charge cell phone and laptop…

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