Braaains...stock up on canned non-perishable brains
With many federal agencies using social media as a tool to
get the word out about disaster preparedness and breaking news, the Centers for
Disease Control recently made headlines for keeping followers updated on how to
deal with the type of disaster many of us go to bed every night dreading...the
inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Last week the CDC posted on its blog an in-depth post
entitled "Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." The post included
a brief history of our brain eating friends, as well as what you may need to
stock up on to deal with the moment your Uncle Humpbert who died when you were
7 shows up at your doorstep looking to take a bite out of your arm. A standard
emergency plan is then outlined, including such helpful tips as "Plan your
evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won't stop until they get food
(i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast!"
All joking aside, the CDC's Emergencey Preparedness and
Response team took the zombie angle to make salient points about how to deal
with a more probable scenario such as a hurricane or earthquake. Tips like
keeping updated stocks of First Aid supplies and non-perishable food, as well
as pointers like designating an "out-of-state" contact in case of emergency can
be applied the types of catastrophes more likely to emerge at some point.
The CDC's blog post generated enough buzz on social media
that the agency's official emergency preparedness Twitter feed has seen a
sizable spike in followers in the days since it was originally posted. According to OhMyGov Media Monitoring, on May 15th, the day
before the post went live @cdcemergency boasted 1.265 Million followers,
in the subsequent ten days the account has picked up over 5,000 new followers.
The success of the CDC's post in terms of both readership,
hell even the New York Times picked up on it, and social media
popularity are further proof that a bit of social media savvy combined with a
knowing sense of humor can help federal agencies get notice for their more
Chances are most people who read the CDC's zombie post
did not give a great deal of thought to disaster preparedness beforehand, but
by hooking readers with a clever premise the agency was able to presumably get
its more serious message across. Now if only the IRS can find a way to make
filing your 1040 snarky and fun...