The Other Thing I Like about TvsZ

Yes you have to be smart to play this game, but you also have to be creative. What makes this game so much fun for those of us actually invested is the narrative.  The thing about it is, you really wouldn’t expect Twitter to be the best place to craft such a narrative. And really, it isn’t. But it’s the glue that holds the rest of the experience- the blogs, videos, storifies, you name it- together. And it’s the place where the action happens.

And even in only 140 characters, we’ve created a whole apocalypse, complete with safe houses, ruins, and plenty of corpses.  We’ve had people in cellars, barricaded in offices, at the lake, in the sewers, even on balloon rides. And we’ve done it on a micro blogging platform.  I think it’s amazing to see what people have created and how engaged in the story they are.  I even had a player ask to be included in a safezone only if it worked with the story he was creating.

People are committed to this game, zombies relish bringing down our most prominent players, and humans mourn the fallen.  But we’re also determined to survive this, and that’s why you’ll see us continue to live our story, human to the end.

Let’s Talk about Twitter

My favorite thing about Twitter vs Zombies, this time and last, is that it challenges us to think about everyday applications in new ways.  But the one I like most is Twitter, as it should be, I suppose.

In every day life, I use Twitter to get news updates, follow friends, and find interesting things to read.  There is an occasional Twitter chat thrown in, but nothing all that out of the ordinary.  During a zombie apocalypse however, Twitter becomes so much more.

It is fascinating to me that the basic functions of this application can be fashioned into tools for gameplay, and that those same tools can be manipulated to subvert the rules of that same game.  Hashtags and links are basic additions to many tweets, but in TvsZ, they can be the difference between life and undeath.  Mastering these tool and following the rules carefully is the only hope of surviving these troubling times, but new, creative uses for them are the beginning of strategy.  This time around in TvsZ, I’ve been more keen about noticing fumbles in the game.  Most of these are hashtag mistakes, broken links, or mistyped Twitter handles, but my favorite come from human (and quite often zombie) error.

My favorite of these are the zombie errors.  I like to make a sport of trying to get them to trip up (very easy, you know, on account of the shambling). First you post a safezone, and then you bury it in zombie baiting tweets.  Zombies get angry and bite you en masse, but you’re safe so they’ve all lost their bites for 30 mins.  This is strategy.  But my favorite is when the zombies get confused.  My favorite point in the game so far came at one such moment.  No less than three people had included @jaycart1 in their safezones (including herself) and I typed her Twitter handle wrong in my tweet. @allistelling picked up on my mistake, and took extreme pleasure in biting @jaycart1, only to be soundly rebuffed and mocked by the human community.

I like this game because you have to be smart to play it.  You have to pay attention when it’s so easy to lose track of things on Twitter. It challenges us during the game, but I like to think that the skill will remain useful after the game is over.  It’s a challenge to actually engage the deluge of information that confronts us on Twitter- and other social media and internet applications- rather than simply let it wash over us.  There’s so much to be gained this way.  So much great content comes from TvsZ and it’s easy to miss if you’re not careful, who knows what we’re missing in our usual Twitter feeds?

If I Weren’t In the Middle of a Zombie Apocalypse…

Here I sit in my abandoned library, typing away because it’s the only way to stay alive.  The zombies are too numerous for me to venture out of my safezone. And they’re getting meaner as humans grow scarce.

I’m amusing myself by imagining a different reality. One where there are no zombies and my library isn’t abandoned.  I wonder if any of my survival skills would be useful there.  I like to think they would be.

First, I could put all of my safezone writing creativity to good use.  Imagine if I wrote just to write, instead of to stay alive.  Before the twitter zombie apocalypse I didn’t really do much of that.  Sure I had this blog, but I only used it for school assignments.  Maybe if there weren’t zombies I’d try blogging for fun.

Definitely my twitter skills would come in handy.  I think the zombie apocalypse has taught me a lot about Twitter. I’ve participated in Twitter chats before, but who’d have though we could have a full fledged zombie war here? I mean, look at the way the zombies have organized themselves to systematically destroy the human race.  Even I have to admit that they’re pretty impressive.  Even if it is a zombie community, it’s a community none the less.  Imagine a world without zombies where we could build twitter communities like theirs that would foster learning, discussion, fun? What if we used twitter for more than status updates? And what if more than just nerds and professors participated? What if twitter was smart instead of just there?

Finally, in a world without Zombies, I’d still like to know people like the smart and talented ones I’ve met in the past day or so. Even during an apocalypse, these people manage to turn out smart, witty, and fun content.  Even the Zombies! Imagine if the zombies were just regular people. I’d love to see the interesting things they’d work on in another life.

All in all, this zombie apocalypse has been an enriching experience. Or it would have been if I weren’t sitting in my abandoned library hiding from the undead.  If I was say, a college student interested in digital media and its implications for learning and community, this would have been a very enriching experience indeed.

For Library Girl

Well I didn’t know you long, 
And I didn’t know you well.
But you were pretty cool-
Just something I could tell.

I tried my best to save you
When the zombies came to bite.
But my swipe came just a bit too late
And so you said goodnight.

I guess you are a zombie now,
Although I’m losing track,
And my human friends are dwindling-
There’s no one to watch my back.

Still I’ll keep on fighting,
Though my allies now are few.
I’ll fight against the zombies
until zombie I am too.

Twitter Can’t Contain the Zombie Apocalypse

All the people who put this together are pretty much zombies now, but that doesn’t stop them from being teachers…and assigning homework.  Personally, I feel like running for your life from hordes of deranged zombies is enough work to do on its own, but now we get to write about it.

Luckily, I have the abandoned library in which to safely do that.  And also luckily, it’s pretty awesome.  Humans and zombies get to write to earn either safezone privileges or extra bites, and the writing that has come from that is massively entertaining.

For example, have you seen @mikeberta’s Storify about how I’ll soon be dead?  It’s pretty funny. In unrelated news, IN YOUR FACE ZOMBIE!  I like this post so much that I think I’ll make my next safezone a Storify about the abandoned library and ZombieBaiting.

Speaking of which, these zombies are trying to bait a few humans via non-traditional means- you know, the familiar straightforward excruciatingly painful brains eating means.  Remember the good old days (hours?) when that was the MO?  Now they’re trying to trick us with fake treaties!  They’re playing with their food now! Come on! (I told you this was a different breed of zombie).

Fortunately I have this blog to serve both as my safezone generator and a means of communication with other humans in more than 140 characters.  Even though @readywriting has put together a list of the last few of us that remain (I told you they were organized), us humans will continue to get the word out to other survivors (even if it is kind of depressing…looking at you @afamiglietti..keep your head up).  Humans out there, you’re not alone! Write a safezone, let us know how you’re doing, and get to the abandoned library!

It’s pretty cool to see the writing Twitter vs Zombies has generated on both sides.  It’s a nice reminder that writing can be fun, games that involve writing can be fun, and that humans are seriously funny when set upon by a zombie horde.

ZombieBaiting..and why it’s probably the worst idea I’ve had (but also why I will continue)

In the post-apocalyptic Twystopia of Twiter vs Zombies humans have little joy.  Their friends are dying (only to become undead) all around them, food is scarce (except for brains which are pretty unpalatable), and there is a roving horde of bitingly (see what I did there?) witty zombies waiting to devour them…and while they can occasionally dodge an attack or snatch someone else from an untimely demise, there is pretty much no way to fight back.

While this surely is depres—-wait, witty? witty zombies?

Oh yes, friend. The digital zombie is a finer breed of zombie.  Not only are they astonishingly organized, they seem to have retained some vestiges of their human intelligence…resulting in some of the funniest gruesome deaths and human taunting you’ve ever seen from the undead.  If they weren’t devouring my friends along with my hopes for a future in which I die of old age, peacefully, in my sleep, they would be downright entertaining.

Anyway, while this is surely depressing, the one ray of light in a dark, dark world is ZombieBaiting.  ZombieBating is a game played during that magical time one is in a #safezone and is therefore protected from attack.  The horde is so large now that Zombies lie in wait, waiting for foolish humans to make their presence known (via a tweet) so that they can pounce. A human can dodge, but another Zombie will be waiting, another human can swipe, but then that human is bitten by yet another Zombie and then another Zombie bites the first person. There are no heroes here, only fools.  I fear that the scale has tipped so that it is only a matter of time before the last of us humans have succumbed.

So when I am not bait, I bait the Zombies.  Cowardly? Yes.  Foolhardy? Most definitely.  I know they are waiting for the end of my respite in the safezone (aka the abandoned library).  I can hear them clamoring at the doors.  Who knows how many of these safezones I can write before I run out of substantive things to say?  How funny that my brain is the last defense against those who would eat it. 

Still, it’s worth it to me in this time of terror to tease a few zombies when I can.  I’ll best them with my taunts when I can, for in all other areas they clearly have the advantage.  So assail my safezone if you want zombies, but as long as I’m here you’ll know that we humans still have spirit left to fight, even if we have nothing to fight with. And to my human allies out there keeping quiet, stay safe, bide your time, write a safezone.  And when you do, join me in the abandoned library and we’ll bait zombies together.  It will be the most terrifyingly thrilling (or thrillingly terrifying) thing we’ve yet done.

#Safezone

So I’m playing Twitter Vs Zombies and shortly I will probably become a zombie.  Before my brains are eaten and I am reduced to a mindless undead monster, I should probably record what I have learned so far.

1. TweetDeck

TweetDeck is super awesome and I had no idea that it existed before this game.  The one good think that will come of my impending doom is that I can share this with whatever humans may be left out there (though you probably already know about it as I am woefully slow to catch on to things, vis a vis my impending doom).  You can use tweetdeck to follow certain people or hashtags.  Aside from making this game a lot easier (and more fun)  I imagine that it will be quite useful for all sorts of fun twitter things lik #digped.  TweetDeck, I wish I’d learned about you sooner because you are fascinating.

2. Twitter Vs Zombies is heavily biased towards the zombies

True to life, or a scary, dystopian version of life, Zombie Apocalypses on Twitter are stacked pretty heavily against humans (and those stacks are primarily made of corpses).  I think it’s pretty interesting that the game rules make it so that human numbers dwindle pretty quickly and the horde of zombies quickly gains the upper hand.  When we started this think less than 24 hours ago there were tons of human surrounding my name on the scoreboard and now I’m the first one! Also, I find the zombie horde interesting.  They seem pretty organized for having no brains and I think they really have the humans scrambling.  We should come up with a way to kill the zombies…but putting them out of the game would be a shame, since besides being utterly terrifying they are pretty entertaining…oh and the pictures are awesome.

3. TvsZ has confirmed my suspicions that ducks are evil

My first bite came from a duck.  Oddly enough, I’m talking irl here.  I got bit by a duck (do they even have teeth?) when I was really little and all I was trying to do was give it some nice yummy breadcrumbs.  Seems only fitting that a zombified duck would be first to bite me in this game AND be patient zero.  Seriously, we need to do something about ducks.

Okay so those are my thoughts and this post will buy me another hour of life…in which I can taunt the zombies without mortal fear.

Fellow humans, if you’re out there and scared, you can band together with me…I think it’s time we had a human horde to counter the zombies with.  If you haven’t already, sign up for Twitter Vs Zombies at twittervszombies.com and find me on Twitter at @_bekahhogue.  Hurry up too! Our numbers are dwindling and we need help!