The other day at work, a coworker and I discussed a news story about a Waco resident who ate his family pet because of a very bad trip from a drug known as “K-2.” We agreed that this was a horrific story and very troubling to hear about, but what made this conversation interesting was their conviction that the Zombie Apocalypse was upon us.
With December 2012 around the corner, it’s no question that millions of people are conjuring up different “end of days” scenarios. The most popular of those scenarios would have to be the undead roaming the world on a never-ending quest to feast upon brains and flesh of the living. With stories seemingly popping up every day, it’s not hard to see why this is a very popular scenario. Facebook is riddled with shared stories a plenty regarding victims getting their face chewed off in Miami, family dogs getting eaten in Waco, and hearts being eaten by roommates in Maryland.
I hate to be “that guy,” but a few stories being shared on Facebook doesn’t mean there’s a real trend here. The power of social media can be used for good (i.e. Students at Virginia Tech informing loved ones they’re okay during the shooting on campus) and it can be used for bad (i.e. Posting a picture of your childhood cartoons was really created by pedophiles). In this case, I would say social media and traditional media is just exacerbating a fear for rating purposes.
Media has a way of causing mass hysteria even when the numbers don’t support their claims. Remember back in the summer of 2001? It was deemed, The Summer of The Shark. Time magazine ran a cover story about a little 8-year old boy named Jessie Arbogast who had his leg ripped off by a bull shark in Pensacola, FL. News outlets were on a feeding frenzy, covering shark attack stories from coast to coast. But if you take a look at the real numbers here you’ll find that in the 2001, there were only 68 shark attacks, of which 4 were actually fatal. If you look at the worldwide average of shark attacks between 1995 and 2005, you’ll see that there are 60.3 shark attacks a year with 5.9 fatalities. So 8 more attacks and about 2 less deaths were cause for panic? Looks like we overreacted a bit there…don’t you think?
Gruesome stories like the Miami victim or the Waco resident have been occurring for centuries. I seriously doubt there’s any real increase this year in zombie-like attacks. Remember that story that surfaced this year about the MMA fighter that ate his trainer’s heart? Well if you did a little research, you’ll see that actually occurred in 2010. Because people felt it necessary to share it now, the masses believed it was a part of a trend.
Before you share that picture that shows why Obama spends less/more than other Presidents; or why Black Women’s College attendance is high; or the next Zombie attack, be sure to do a little background research. Just because your friends shared it, doesn’t make it true.
As always folks, stay classy.