The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

On Twitter ‘Zombies’ and Actual Zombies on Twitter

We’ve written before here on the ZRC blog about the unfortunate tendency of many commentators to use the word ‘Zombie’, a term designating a group of individuals by their unique cultural and to some degree biological/political status, as a term for ‘anything I object to’.

Most frequently, ‘Zombie’ misappropriated in this fashion is an adjective for ‘bad’, ‘unintelligent’ or ‘more persistent than the author would personally care for’. The people, places, objects, technology and institutions thusly described as ‘Zombies’ have no real similarity to the Differently Animated even by analogy. They haven’t died, been transformed/radically altered, and come back as an fundamentally new form of Unlife. Usually, they’re just unpleasant in some fashion to the author of the piece in question.

So we have had ‘Zombie’ ants, ‘Zombie’ Economics, ‘Zombie’ lies, ‘Zombie’ hotels (note: not this one), ‘Zombie’ computer chips, even a ‘Zombie’ satellite. In most of these cases not only was the allegedly ‘Zombie’ item not Undead or close enough for a meaningful analogy, but it had never been alive to start with!

Add to that list of infamy the Twitter ‘Zombie’:

The Zombies have overrun Twitter!

Run for your lives! Protect your brains! Get out axes and shotguns!

Are you alive? Are you reading this? Or do you have some reader bot assigned to download my blog’s RSS feed only to ignore my words later?

It doesn’t matter whether they’ve got 20,000 followers, is their content original or copies from other “experts” that they’re rebroadcasting. Are they just using other people’s brains and existing off their once living ideas.

Twitter is full of zombies. Please stop! Please come back to life. Or just do us all a favor and kill yourself.

To combat this supposed menace of annoying, out of touch Twitter ‘Zombies’ whose updates consist almost entirely of retweets, in fact, there is a campaign, and oddly enough the Anti-Twitter ‘Zombie’ faction thinks the ZRC is involved, somehow, in the Rapture:

The “real” Zombies (not the retweeting and non-original content kind) have taken advantage of this apocalyptic fervor and proclaimed that May 21 is the “Global Reanimation Block Party,” or so tweeted @Zombie_Rights, John J Sears, president of The Zombie Rights Campaign (website at

As luck would have it, Retweet Free Week begins on May 22, just after the world either ends or the Global Reanimation Block Party begins, however you see it.

My fear has been that the retweeting Zombies — not @Zombie_Rights or others in the ZRC movement — but the lazy ones who just repeat others and feed on the virtual feast of information on the web, influenced the ZRC once they’d seen the first use of the #RTFreeWeek hashtag. Upon seeing this, Retweet Free Week event, they knew the jig was up.

You see, Retweet Free Week is meant to expose the lazy Zombies. The ones who cannot compose their own ideas online. I know, I know. The ZRC wants to protect all Zombies. And I want to respect the rights of Zombies to exist. But the Zombies have to come out. They have to admit they are Zombies. They cannot continue to hide.

I have no proof, with the exception of some tweets I have seen retweeted, but I believe that the Undead Online influenced the ZRC to move their scheduled “Global Reanimation Block Party,” which I believe was originally planned to coincide with the Mayan Calendar prediction of Zombie Apocalypse.

I call on @Zombie_Rights and the ZRC to do what is right. I ask that the ZRC expose the Undead Online and encourage responsible brain-eating online. And that all Zombies come out. It’s time that Zombies be who you are meant to be — live or Undead, we are all the same online.

I just hope Mr. Sears and the ZRC will agree before it’s too late. Stop the Global Reanimation Block Party and return it to the original planned date. I think we all agree it would be the best idea.

We are also, apparently, suspected of having contact with Harold Camping, the man behind the Rapture scare that occurs… oh, about now, actually, on the far side of the globe.

This is a rather detailed set of complaints/requests, so I think it’s best to respond in an itemized fashion:

1) Twitter users who endlessly retweet the work of others are not ‘Zombies’, and the use of the ethno-vitality status term ‘Zombie’ in this pejorative manner is offensive and poor analogy. The only thing I can think of that might qualify as analogous to a Zombie on Twitter would be a feed that comes back to active status after a period of complete dormancy, and even then, since Twitter doesn’t seem to deactivate accounts, that’s not really the ‘death’ of the feed.

In short, Don’t Use the Zed Word.

2) There are many ACTUAL Zombies on Twitter who might take great offense at this abusive terminology. @ZombieDrummer for example is one of our favorite correspondents on Twitter, as are the fine Undead folks at @TZF_press . These are the sort of individuals you should refer to as Twitter Zombies, in that they are, in fact, Zombies on Twitter.

3) The overuse of retweets on Twitter is not a problem of the medium, or even the functionality, but of the end-users who tolerate it.

Michael Cheek, the author behind this personal crusade against ‘Zombies’ on Twitter, lays out what he feels are a few acceptable rules for proper retweeting on Twitter. In essence, he wants people to avoid using the RT button directly, in favor of adding their own thoughts and commentary to the redistributed ideas of others.

We have no problem with this… in principle. However, I would note that the direct retweeting of others’ thoughts is also a useful form of citation. Since Twitter is so short and so frequently published, it is ridiculously inefficient to formally cite the work of others when commenting upon it, or even hyperlink; a citation would be essentially the same length as the original material, and a hyperlink a good fraction of a full tweet. Far better to simply repeat their whole tweet, avoiding any appearance of bias or malicious editing, then comment upon *that*, to my mind.

It’s a tactic I often use for the ZRC Twitter feed. For example, today I retweeted the following verbatim from Milla Jovovich:

I guess the zombies heard the fam n I were taking a weekend trip n thought this wld b a good time 2 start n apocalypse! Those bastards.

I would never want any ZRC reader to assume that those words in some way came from their representative, and fortunately, Twitter allows me to enclose and forward the entirety of the hate speech from Ms. Jovovich without having to manipulate her evil words.

Then I could instantly respond to that tweet with my own:

@MillaJovovich Sorry Milla, but the Zombies you defame so often really aren’t that into you. #betterthingstodothanks

Is this lazy retweeting? I hardly think so. Rather, it’s responsible and impartial journalism, as overseen by an indifferent third party at Twitter. You can’t misquote someone with a retweet, and the original author is always plainly displayed, so that the chain of custody on the thought is easy to discern.

4) As for Retweet Free Week… the ZRC has no issue with reducing retweets in general. I’d rather people use them more sparingly, as I’m sure many Twitter users would. The medium is at its best when conveying short original thoughts. However, at the same time, I’m not sure how serious a problem this is. Twitter doesn’t have a commons, and you’re not obligated to follow any one person. If they retweet too much, simply.. don’t follow them.

5) About the scheduling of the Rapture/Global Reanimation Block Party.. the ZRC had nothing to do with this Rapture thing’s timing or planning. We have never been in contact with Harold Camping, and don’t actually believe the Rapture is going to occur, as such; nor do we believe that the 2012 ‘Apocalypse’ is likely to occur. We merely wanted to rebrand the possible mass rising of the Differently Animated from the hurtful ‘apocalypse’ framing to something more Zombie Correct to help avoid any unnecessary paranoia and violence in the event that Zombies rise from the grave in significantly higher numbers than the usual background reanimation rate.

Petitioning us to revert the date won’t help, as we didn’t set May 21st up to be anything special. We’re just prepared, in the event that Mr. Camping is right, to offer soda, cookies and alcoholic beverages to the Differently Animated in the area assuming the Global Reanimation Block Party occurs.

I hope this has answered any questions Mr. Cheek or his readership may have about The Zombie Rights Campaign and the Differently Animated on Twitter.

About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.


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