Several phone conversations yesterday with our DC Peace Corps Placement officer led to a Peace Corps invitation this morning. Stewart and I will be departing the first week in September, 2014 to serve in Nepal. My sector was changed to Health (nutrition) and Stewart is in Agriculture. We both will work in the food security. Woah…..Kathmandu….Mt. Everest…..and Yaks. We will be in the lower foothills of the Himalayas. The main diet is vegetarian. Nine year old nephew, Gabriel, has warned us against using any of our vacation days to climb Mt. Everest…”People die up there”. Good to know.
In 2011, the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) changed up their emergency preparedness education a bit. CDC is extremely important and the information they share can make the difference between life and death…..but….they don’t really have the most exciting reputation. And their budget is even less impressive than their reputation. With no money, man-power, or new facts to trot out in 2011, they decided to go with a different theme to gain public interest and promote their mission. They linked their information to zombies.
The Center for Disease Control is not worried about a zombie apocalypse. I’m pretty sure if you ask them if they believe in zombies, most CDC people would laugh. However, the CDC is attempting to accomplish something and if they need to use a theme that evokes emotion and interest….a theme that is not real…so be it. The end justifies the means, yes? Was the zombie link to the CDC emergency preparedness platform successful? They started their “zombie campaign” with a tongue-in-cheek blog post that linked to their CDC emergency pages. The blog site crashed within 10 minutes as more than 30,000 people tried to read their 101 on zombie preparedness. Overall, the page had more than 60,000 views per hour. Eventually, traffic flowed to the main CDC website. Successful? Yes. Successful is an understatement.
I’ve been obsessed with virus transmission of late because I am a germaphobe planning on living outside my safe zone(literally) in the future. I realize that I need to gain information in order to avoid panic attacks every time I get lake water in my eyes or have a mosquito land on my arm while I’m overseas; thus the in-depth knowledge about the CDC zombie campaign. (which btw, further led me to the “Harry Potter Alliance”…another interesting use of fiction to promote a platform)
But, the reason the subject of using a theme to promote a platform is swirling around my mind today is actually because I’ve been inundated with on-line responses to the Zimmerman court judgment this weekend. I’ve distanced myself from the whole court case. I pretty much ignore all court cases involving crime that catch the attention of the media. I don’t really believe it is possible for anyone to know what happened in such a situation….except the people who were involved…and even those involved may be confused about the facts due to the affects of trauma and shock on the human brain. However, I do know the main players in the case and the basic arguments presented by the different media. (I don’t live under a rock) The overly emotional on-line responses to the court judgment are fascinating to me because they appear so righteous, whether the response is in support or outraged by the jury decision. Yet, what I really find fascinating is the responses from many of the people I know personally are landing in certain camps that reflect their common political affiliation.
It appears that several groups have jumped on the Zimmerman case to promote their platforms and gain support. Since none of us were right there on the scene, we certainly don’t know what is true and what is not true in this scenario. We only know what we are fed by whoever we trust to give us the truth of the matter. All of the ‘facts’ in this court case have been shaded one way or the other in order to utilize the power of suggestion before they even reach us. I believe different political factions are using this media circus court case to promote their platforms. In my mind, it is a similar method to the CDC and their zombie campaign….only the Zimmerman ‘campaign’…..sadly involves the loss of a real life.
People will use anything as a marketing campaign, won’t they?…..because humans are so so susceptible. And I know most of you reading this are pointing your on-line fingers at others and agreeing with me, right? “Yep…..all of them….out there….will believe anything they are told.” ; )