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The Problem with Zombies: Twitter Overwhelmed by the Undead ‘Brain Eaters’

Originally Posted on Author's Blog

 

 

The Undead. They almost seem alive. But their tweets are dead.

Zombies make up more of Twitter than anything else it seems. Zombies tweet other people’s content. They retweet or tweet referrals to existing news. It’s the repeated content you see everyday by dozens — sometimes hundreds — of people who hop on the bandwagon and offer repeats and reruns of news from elsewhere.

Zombies offer nothing new.

Zombies consume and like the bile you see in every horror flick, they regurgitate the content available everywhere else without a single fresh idea. In fact, they might think themselves some sort of consolidator or amalgamation. Early on in Twitter days, we might have needed that summary. Today, we don’t. Mashable, Google News and a few hundred other tools offer us ways to find the news we need and want.

Zombies ignore their followers. They just tweet. Hello. Here’s this bile. Here’s more bile. This is the leftover chunks of information I gleaned off of somewhere else on the Internet. This is a retweet. This is a link to someone else’s website. None of this is my original thought. I provide no unique insight. I just point and click. Ugh.

Zombies.

Are Zombies Real People?

A Pew Study in December 2010 said Twitter was “filled with” Zombie accounts. What that study and others have called Zombies are largely “bots” or robots. These bots seek certain words or phrases that trigger events — a response, a follow, etc. It’s all a simple programmed script. Nothing too complex.

Here’s the problem with calling any bot a Zombie: Bots were never alive. Zombie had to be once alive to become undead. So we must redefine the word Zombies.

A Zombie is a person… or once was. But how do you know if you are a Zombie?

That comes next…

Next: Identifying the Zombies Among Us, Even When the Zombie Is Me
What Do You Mean by ‘Brain Eaters’ Anyway

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