Zombie Talk Spikes: Is the Apocalypse Nigh?

By Sheldon Levine - Thursday, May 31st, 2012 at 7:30 am  

Recently in the North American media there has been a rise in reports that seem to very closely resemble zombie attacks. First, over the weekend in Miami a man was found on a bridge naked and eating the flesh from another man’s face. He was shot once and responded to the police officer that shot him by simply growling and then returning to his victim. He then had to be shot several times before he finally succumbed to the wounds and died. Then a few days later a man in New Jersey cut open his own stomach and, not succumbing to the wound, proceeded to rip out his own intestines and hurl them towards the police officers trying to subdue him.

If these reports don’t sound like zombies, then I don’t know what does.

Of course, these recent events have gotten people talking… about a possible zombie apocalypse. While this not may actually be the case (although, don’t quote me on that), it is interesting to see how many people started to think about the possible scenario. I personally witnessed a slew of people talking about it through social channels, so I felt it was my civic duty to examine all of the talk.

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I did a search for people mentioning “zombie” or “zombies” over the past week. In that time I found 13,465 blog posts, 3,884 online news articles, 44,903 forum postings and 648,660 tweets talking about zombies.

While this number of mentions doesn’t seem to be all that high, to see it trended out over time shows a real spike in regular zombie talk. Zombies have a special place in the hearts of pop culture fans (including mine), so it’s no surprise to see that they were being talked about on a regular basis previous to this weekend. However, we can see in the popularity graph below just how much the talk of zombies took off once these strange incidents started to be reported on.

When I started to dig a bit deeper into the conversations I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit. When I looked at a buzzgraph of the conversation I found it humerous that “apocalypse” (ie. the zombie apocalypse) was featured right in the center. The words around the conversation then ranged from ones having to do with the two cases I mentioned above to other interesting genre themed ones like “horror,” “cannibal” and even “vampires.”

And while these recent attacks happened in the USA, they were not the only people talking about zombies. The following map shows people from all over the world have zombies on the brain (feel free to make your own zombie brain pun here) and are tweeting about them. I also wanted to throw this chart in because it reminds me a bit of a zombie outbreak map you would see in a movie.

Interestingly, with all of this talk about zombies, only 25% of the conversations were negative. The positive mentions of zombies actually slightly outweighed the negative ones, coming in at 27%.

Not surprising though, is that the zombie talk was mainly coming from males between the ages of 21-35.

    

While this post was just for fun, it does lead one to wonder; are you prepared for the impending zombie apocalypse?

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