Social media as plague. Have we all become “content zombies?”

February 5, 2010


In the highly entertaining Tobe Hooper film, Life Force the human population are turned into ravenous creatures that must suck the essence of life out of other human beings every few minutes or die. Without going into plot (in this case alien invasion), the streets of London are quickly turned into a maelstrom of carnage. Half dead zombies grab onto the living, draining them. The drained then come back to “life” looking for new victims to drain. And so on.

Typically, zombies do not dwell on one meal for long. Unthinking creatures, they rip into one victim after another, leaving the dead and dying in their relentless search for fresher meat. Of course, the bitten quickly “turn” and well you know the rest.

It’s pretty scary…the stuff of nightmares. Many observers have likened the popularity of zombies in our culture to not-so-latent fears about the economy or terrorism; that these ghouls symbolize a loss of control. It also has been suggested that we see ourselves in these mindless creatures, an even scarier thought -for how quickly our appetites run amok. Neither view is wrong. As one of the remaining mortals exclaims during George Romero’s remake of his own classic film, Night of the Living Dead: “We are them.”

Perhaps sadly, it’s also a metaphor for the effect social media is having on more and more of us every day. Earlier, I wrote an essay calling us “content zombies.” No longer able to process information, we rip through new media biting and chewing and spitting out content, barely digesting any of it. Ravenously, we move on to the next. Indeed, barely chewed facts, items and stories pass through us onto the web like offal. Our constant tweets and updates are mere bits and pieces, carrying links like so many worms, each containing the shred of something devoured earlier. Or something like that.

I myself am turning. Last night I tried reading an article in a magazine. I found myself jumping over paragraphs, skipping entire chunks, gluttonous. Unsatisfied, I started another article. Then another. Within minutes I was in front of my laptop lapping up more, more and more!

Already an addictive personality, once I taste blood I cannot stop gorging. The more I feast the less I retain. A vicious cycle if ever there was one. God help me for I am a content zombie. I am legend.

12 Responses to “Social media as plague. Have we all become “content zombies?””

  1. Brook said

    Dead on… No pun intended. Great movie reference as well. I would write more but I don’t have the attention span.

  2. Paul said

    I’m tweeting this as I jump to the next blog.

  3. SRP said

    Thanks guys-
    This was a fun one to write and, yes, I am a “content zombie” and getting worse…

  4. And to think, less than 100 years ago James Joyce wrote an entire book about one day in one man’s life.

  5. Betsy Simons said

    Being so ‘social’ is exhausting.

    I’m thinkin’ ‘anti-social media’ is the next big thing.

    A worldwide community of exhausted curmudgeons, bitchin’ about all this meaningless yapping 🙂

  6. read “you are not a gadget.” it describes what’s wrong with social media quite well.

  7. Media is all about infecting the readers with a feeling, so that they keep coming back to read more.
    PS I tweeted this.

  8. SRP said

    They don’t call it “viral” for nothing. (I can’t believe I resisted that pun in my essay)
    Michael runs my favorite website devoted to the undead. Check it out:

  9. […] zombies” several times. Judging from the amount of views and comments, it’s a popular topic: Content Zombies!Endless Choices/No […]

  10. […] And these days everyone (rich, poor, young, old) is chewing content. I’ve said it before. We are content zombies, recklessly biting bits and pieces of this and that, digesting little and seldom […]

  11. […] last week, those were more than enough “content” for this content zombie. And now I’ve got multiple seasons of GOT to […]

  12. […] are content zombies. But with one profound difference. Unlike those rapacious feeders, we are aware. We know what we are […]

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