Have you seen The Walking Dead on AMC yet? It’s a horrible show about life after the zombie apocalypse. The undead have taken over, though no one really knows why. In one day, the world has been plunged into chaos, social norms no longer exist, and everyone has reverted to a state of primal survival mode. Every episode, someone is either shot, transformed into a zombie, or messily devoured in a graphic manner. It’s the kind of show you have to watch from between your outstretched fingers lest you be caught unawares by a horrible creature lurching out of the shadows.
I love it.
I’ve been watching with interest the brouhaha that erupted over at the Iams Facebook page this week. It happens a few times every year, when someone somewhere gets their hands on a PeTA video that’s been circulating the web for a good decade or so and decides to go on the warpath. (If you aren’t familiar with the backstory there, I’ve written about it here.)
Now, internet trolls are nothing new. Harmless though annoying, they descend on various sites like kamikaze bombers, leaving some sort of irrelevant and insulting statement, and move on. These types of groupthink attacks, though, are a little more malevolent. They are, in fact, more like the zombie hordes than they are the random troll.
It hasn’t happened here, yet. Hopefully it never will. But if it does, I’m ready for it, because I’ve been reading the Walking Dead since before it became a TV series. (You can’t rely on electricity during a zombie apocalypse). Here is what I’ve learned:
Lesson 1: You can’t reason with zombies.
Internet zombies, once infected by a virus like LUVPUPPIES1 (I made that up), are transformed into mindless, shambling creatures with one purpose and one purpose only: destruction. Much like actual zombies, internet zombies cannot be reasoned with. They respond to attempts at discourse with teeth and groans. And also like actual zombies, they attack in large numbers. You can pick one off, but 50 more replace them.
Zombie: YOU KILL PETS ARGH EAT YOUR BRAINS
Company rep: Actually, here are 10 sources of information that have been written by us, as well as another 10 from independent sources, that show how this is not true.
Zombie: YOU KILL PETS ARGH EAT YOUR BRAINS
Lesson 2: There is only one way to deal with zombies: eradication.
You can run, but they always seem to corner you. So you need to hold your ground, get your crossbow ready like our handy friend Daryl above- he’s the number one zombie slayer on the show- and take them out. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Now, zombie attacks occur in a post-apocalyptic world, but companies like Iams are stuck in the pre-apocalyptic real world. As such, they are constrained by such things as rules, codes of conduct, and professionalism.
Zombie: I WILL DESTROY YOU
Company rep: Hi there, would you mind reading our code of conduct for our Facebook page? Thanks!
You see how this could be problematic.
Here’s the good news for mavericks like me: I write my own world. I have no rules for how I deal with people, since I oversee this site with tyranny and absolute power. I could rock this place tomorrow and turn it into a….hmmm, what would really be shocking?….A mommy blog! Ha. Then you’d know the real apocalypse is upon us. Even worse. A tech blog. I can’t even imagine.
Lesson 3: Know your friends.
In a perfect world, during a time of terrible destruction the sole survivors would stick together and work towards the goal of saving the human race. Sadly, even humans are capable of doing terrible things, like when Shane fed Otis to the zombies because it was the only way he was going to make it to the car in one piece. You never know who’s going to throw you under the bus. So keep your friends close, because when the zombies hit, you want someone who’s going to be shooting alongside you, not shooting you in the kneecap and tossing you over the ledge to draw them off. (Also a good analogy when choosing which Brownie troop to join up with.)
My mentor, and I use that term loosely, used to do that to me all the time. When he felt under attack by a client, he would point out how the newbie vet was so much more terrible and inept than he was, it was probably my fault, and they should just trust him instead. Sadly, I was not in possession of a crossbow at the time. Fortunately, I had friends in the staff, who would drag my incapacitated carcass off the floor before the client could rip me to shreds.
Lesson 4: Have a survival plan in place.
Things happen quickly in a zombie apocalypse. You need to be prepared.
I like to think we have created a pretty happy place here. We talk, we have some laughs, we put dogs in stupid costumes. Perhaps it will always be this way. Or maybe one day the sun will set and rise the next dawn on a ravaged landscape, when angry hordes have trashed the terrain over some ill-advised post about Wayne Pacelle, Michael Vick, or, you know, zombie animal rights activists. Groaning, angry people who, despite their assertions to be kind and loving guardians of peace, will be out for blood.
If and when that happens, guess what? I’m losing the labcoat. I’m not going to engage. I’m arming my ban button, and I’m going full Daryl. I’m scrappy like that.