September 14, 2013

Writing in the post-apocalyptic digital zombie world


I felt fearful today every time I opened my laptop, every time I sent a message out over twitter. I held my breath as I scrolled through my twitter feed, watching carefully to see if a zombie had bitten me, worried that I might soon be infected and dragged into the horde of walking dead. I sent secret messages to friends on twitter — and sometimes to strangers — to form secret alliances.

Yes. I’m playing again. Twitter vs Zombies 3.0.

Playing the game involves all kinds of learning.I could write a long post about how the game teaches twitter literacy, and how having to respond in only 140 characters can teach editing skills, and how the whole game itself forms a narrative that's like an amazing collaborative writing experience.

But mostly, I just have to say that I'm having fun. It's such a cool community of people, linked only by a common hashtag: #TvsZ. Almost 200 people are playing the game — and that group includes lots of faculty, lots of college students, as well as people from many different walks of life. At least one of the players is still in elementary school. Another has retired from a fairly prestigious job. What's great is that in the post-apocalyptic digital zombie world, we're all equals. If anything, I'd say the younger you are on twitter, the quicker you probably are at dodging zombies. I bet none of my students are reaching for reading glasses every time they sign onto twitter.

Too often, when I'm writing something, I spend way too much time editing and rewriting — and pretty much driving myself crazy. Playing Twitter vs Zombies is a different kind of writing. The fast pace of the game means I have to keep producing tweets, responding to the narrative other players are constructing. I'm writing in public – and making mistakes in public, just like everyone else. It's just not the students new to twitter who are forgetting hashtags or making silly typos, it's all of us. I love that.

You may be wondering why I began this post with a photo of a library. Well, in the imaginary world of the virtual zombie apocalypse, I've decided I'm going to hide with my friends in a library. And according to the rules of the game, I need to post an original photo with this post, which is earning me a one-hour #safezone. So if you want to find me online any time in the next hour, that's where I'll be -- just chillin' with a bunch of books.


Anonymous said...

This explains all the ridiculous messages on your twitter feed. I thought your account had been hacked.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Pretty photo, but I don;t get it.

jo(e) said...

I was playing this game called Twitter vs Zombies, and the rule was we could create a safezone by posting a link to a blogpost. I guess it doesn't really make sense unless you were playing the game.