Posted by: rolfsky | January 7, 2008

zombie grooming and social favors

For New Years, my wife and I attended a party thrown by a former coworker (and good friend) of hers, someone she’d been trying to introduce me to for many months. The thought was that we’d have lots to talk about and possibly influence each other. More importantly, he could be a very valuable business contact as time goes on. We had a wonderful time at their party, but the more interesting thing happened a few days later.

Thinking that I’d like to keep track of what he’s up to, I added his blog to my RSS reader. And after hanging out with his wife, kids, dog, and friends for 6 hours, I felt I could search him up on Facebook and add him as a friend. I did; and he accepted. A modern connection was born.

The intrigue started when he sent me a “Zombie” invitation on Facebook.
I, for a brief moment, considered letting myself get bitten.

Now, I should preface this by saying that I have done everything possible to resist installing the zombie application and “start biting chumps”. My wife has invited me, close friends have invited me, but I have politely ignored them all.

If you are unfamiliar with the zombie app, you can imagine it as the classic viral app married to the age-old pyramid scheme. You “invite” your friends to add the app (by biting them) and you gain points for each friend you add. It’s no stretch to imagine that your “best” friends would try to infect as many as possible, to increase not only their own army, but yours by proxy.

And it was in this moment that I hesitated. Though I had resisted this long, maybe it was “worth” getting bitten this time?

From an anthropological standpoint, I was pondering over whether I wanted to be submissive. Human researchers, standing on the sidelines and scribbling in little notebooks would have seen me metaphorically roll over and let my belly be scratched.

For an instant, I wondered if allowing his zombies to bite me might curry favor in the future, somehow strengthen our relationship. It might be worth it, just to “be nice”.

However, eventually, I slowly clicked the “Ignore” button and went on my way.

But I couldn’t resist re-telling the story about how while technology and time and place may change, we are all still unmistakably human, driven by the same goals to connect, support, befriend and explore.

How are you supporting those goals?


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