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Dr Marcus LeaningPresented at the University of Winchester Zombosium. 28th October 2011
Texts that replicate authentic ephemera. Diaries, found footage, reports compiled into a collection – mosaic - that tells a story. Strong and very popular theme in horror literature.
In zombie texts the idea has manifested itself in films such as Romero‟s Diary of the Dead (2007) and books such as Zombie Apocalypse (Jones, 2010).
ZAPGs a further variation adding another layer of irony. Instruction manuals concerned with how to survive in a post- apocalyptic world. Play with the genre of instructional guides. A further twist is the style of these guides then being used in game guides.
The ZASG genre is also manifest in fan-culture artefacts disseminated via social media: ◦ Fan websites ◦ Wikkis; ◦ Video media dissemination sites youtube and Vimeo. As well as dissemination, social media also allow for peer- discussion of topics. ◦ Illustrating the blurring and expansion of the text (Jenkins, 2006). ZAPGs also considered in non- zombie virt communities – ◦ Virtual communities that aren‟t explicitly concerned with zombies.
Examining ZASGs within two discussion threads from different virtual communities: ◦ A „zombie-fan‟ community youtube channel – Zombie Go Boom –thread following the posting of a video survival guide. ◦ A non (explicit) zombie fan community - Mumsnet – thread on surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.
Youtube channel hosting episodes exploring how to kill zombies. Study looks at comments following the posting of video about using a screwdriver to kill a zombie. Uploaded 9 Jul 2011 189 posts after 9 weeks - when I did the analysis. Posts still being added. http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v =fSPE0xTVj5k
Parenting website. A discussion on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Took place between: ◦ Thu 01-Sep-11 ◦ Sun -4-Sep-11. 156 posts
ZGB had 189 posts from 180 separate accounts. ◦ Highest contributor made 3 separate posts. Mumsnet had 156 posts from 38 participants. ◦ Highest contributor 25 posts and a gradual declining tail. 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
Text as whole, type of communication. The discussions were examined through the NETLYTIC text analyser. “Modes” of communication „moment‟. ◦ „Self‟ centric (I, my, me) 45.7% Mumsnet comments 62.3% ZGB comments ◦ „We‟ centric (us, we, our) 14.08% Mumsnet 0.52% ZGB ◦ Affirming, positive (agree, YANBU) 21.3% Mumsnet 1.4 % ZGB ◦ Negative, challenging (you are wrong, YABU) 7.05% Mumsnet 29.07 % ZGB
ZGB - Rolling discussion – „the monster drawing game‟ no continuity of discussants, each contributor adds then leaves. Little sense of communication, more of proclamation. The discussion (?) is self- centric (I would…) directive (I want you to..), descriptive (look at that…), combative (no, you‟d die...)
Core discussion between interlocutors, bits added by others. Use each other‟s names frequently and direct addresses to each other. Supportive and affirming of each other. Challenges are qualified – use rhetorical devices to „pull the punch‟ or make it obviously ironic.
ZGB - a large amount of description of the video (look at that!), a lot of instruction and proclamation, a significant amount of criticism and disagreement. Doesn‟t move beyond this. Mumsnet far more sustained discussion…
Comment Type % ofAm I being unreasonable? to think its perfecty Question 6acceptable to have a zombie apocalypse survival plan?no its very reasonable etc Affirmation 24I still do a nuclear bomb/flu pandemic/dirty bomb run Rationale / 14through in my mind. Always have done, since I was a substitutionteenager growing up in the late seventies/earlyeighties.Daily Fail had an article the other day about bird flumutatingI bought up some face masks ready for my rucksack. Information 30We have an allotment opposite our block of flats. Mechanics 22Weve considered the possibility of some sort orsystem of pulleys and ropes to get into it. Its securelyfenced off so we could have access to fresh food.Oops sorry typo Other 4
ZGB community not really community - a monster drawing game discussion – but vast majority of comments were text related Mumsnet a definite sense of community. Conclusion 1: The centrality of the text to the discussion seems to result in less actual community.
A proportion was about general survival in a post apocalyptic world. Discussion shifted very quickly from zombies to other menaces. Conclusion: Zombies serve as a good „cover story‟ for these difficult discussions. There is anxiety there… zombies serve as a way we can think about the problems in a non-scary manner.