February 07, 2011

Zombies inspired me to blog

Feed by Mira Grant
For the past few years I have had a growing fascination in post-apocalyptic survival stories, and they are all over the place. TV shows (Survivors, The Colony), movies (28 Days Later, The Book of Eli), video games (Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas) and books (World War Z) most of them recent provide intriguing examples of how survivors would cope after a major disaster. I find this survival and ultimately the rebuilding of society fascinating. And, of course, if you throw in zombies it's even more amazing (World War Z and Fallout 3 were the real initiators for all of this).

My interest in both post-apocalyptic survival and zombies led me to pick up the book Feed by Mira Grant at the end of last year. In it the world was exposed to two viruses, one that cured the common cold and one that cured all cancers, unfortunately the combination of these two viruses causes the recently deceased to reanimate. In this new world where most average people stay at home in their well-controlled secure neighborhoods, journalists have become the brave adventurers. And in this new world, it is not the large syndicated newspapers or TV channels of main stream media that people trust, but bloggers. Bloggers have risen as the authoritative voice of this new society because they were the first to take the zombie threat seriously and provide practical advice and help to get people through the first outbreaks. The mainstream media on the other hand tried to placate the public and assure them that everything was fine, even as deaths from zombie attacks were rising.

by flickr user antigone78
So the funny thing is that out of this whole back-story I found the idea of reanimated corpses attacking people more plausible than bloggers taking over from mainstream media. I started to give the idea more credence as I delved more into the world of science writing. I had a blog during my freshman year of college and used it as a place to broadcast my youthful sarcasm and wit, that's probably why I associate blogs with teenagers trying to be clever. Still, I've run across many very serious blogs in recent weeks. Professional scientists discussing both the science and business aspects of their companies and careers. It's also easy to find critiques of recently published work and speculation of the current scientific job market. As I start to gather more of my news from blogs instead of mainstream media I realize that this futuristic idea of a blogging news media might not be so far off.

Then I ran across a conference called ScienceOnline 2011, that invites anyone interested in discussing how web and social media can be used to promote science to register and attend. Unfortunately I came across this conference just as it was ending, but I look forward to the chance to attend next year's Science Online. For now I'll continue blogging and maybe it will lead to a career, if nothing else I'll be prepared to offer advice if zombies start rising up.

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