Phone Zombies Campaign: Anchoring the term "Phone Zombies" in common language

It’s funny. I just found some more cool prior art on the Zombie concept by one of our own members, @WwoeSsi:

Hi @WwoeSsi, great to have you here! Wanna join this initiative ?

Cross-linking this to: Producing short dramatic videos to raise awareness

My first post on this topic, highly interesting concept.

Just as creating videos with viral potential, introducing new words or expressions is highly challenging. In this case, I believe “phone zombie” has potential.

A zombie is neither alive nor dead. The juxtaposition is aimed at shaming someone who offends us by focusing on his phone in a social context, just like a zombie does not have any rapport with the living, the regular folks (save where he tries to bite their heads off of course).

Not sure @aschrijver how you plan to go about this. Creating viral content such as memes? That would be very easy to do (I mean, creating memes could be done in a matter of minutes), let us see then if our contacts’ contacts’ contacts love it too. For instance, two pictures: one of a zombie with his head down and jaw dropping, with the text “Aren’t you a bloody zombie”, one of a guy with his head down looking at his screen, with the words “Aren’t you a bloody phone zombie”. This may cause people to share and start using the expression with friends they know to do that a lot, or with whom they shared the meme.

Ok, clearly creating viral content is like building a successful app, i.e. a lottery. But given that anyone can create a meme so easily, we could start generating memes very rapidly and share with our contacts. At some point, we will strike gold.

We may want to also propose other new words or funny expressions to refer to other negative technology aspects, such as “Aren’t you a Google slut?” (Getting vulgar here, sorry for my French) to talk about people who search for incredibly embarassing topics on Google (we have a video concept on Github where someone’s search history is leaked to all her contacts - not good).

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Yep, fully agreed. “Phone zombie” comes up more naturally.

@aschrijver

Would you consider expanding your related campaign (“Phone Zombies”) to all new sorts of words and expressions? We could discuss those on Github, have a preliminary assessment of their catchy potential, and look at memes. This would be followed by a call to action in the forum to share said memes among all our friends on social media, see if it spreads. Let us fight fire with fire!

Yes, this is the idea. Creating memes and video’s that hopefully go viral (not easy). Involves lotsa social media campaigning and the like.

The texts of the memes are most important and I want to spent time brainstorming, so we get a whole bunch of them that are both very funny, gripping and to the point. Then find the imagery to accompany them with.

Yes, indeed. We have lotsa things on our plate right now, but I envision creating an OSS project for the more tech-savvy members of our project and the broader Github member base to build a power tool (or select one, if it already exists - do not reinvent the wheel :slight_smile: ) along these lines:

Agreed in general, just thinking let’s make it exciting for contributors and, perhaps, competitive. If we were to go with memes, we can have all sorts of concepts - it doesn’t matter as long as the intended meaning is properly reflected in the meme.

I know it’s bad but memes that lead to shaming are very promising in my view. Why? Human basic nature: we love to judge and tease our friends. Hence the idea of the text “Arent you a bloody phone zombie”. Not proper, not polite, but I can guarantee you, many people will use it. Sadly, but that is the reality we need to live with, memes that spread are either cute kittens saying something adorable, or some guy saying something very lewd. I hope this is not in any way incompatible with our higher purposes.

We need to be popular with the dudes out there, cannot be too proper. We are not a major NYSE-listed corporation. We belong to the world.

Agreed, in such case, we should not get credit for these provocative memes. No one knows where a meme originally came from, and it doesn’t matter as long as our objectives are achieved.

Sure. I am all for that :slight_smile: :partying_face: We might turn this into a small contest (similar but smaller to Join the CHT Design Contest and Win! And please give us your Vote! )

I agree. This is similar to smoking in public. On the one hand try to make smokers feel guilty and self-conscious when doing it, on the other hand - in separate campaigns - offer them a hand to improve their ways.

We could create a whole series of small meme pictures that are targeted for practical use in social media interactions, e.g. to cut off a Whatsapp conversation that is taking too long. Promote that ‘as a thing’.

That is true. But I envision mention of HTC to be in the image metadata (no one looks at that really, but for search engines and people with tech saviness, whom we might want to reach as potential new members.

We need metadata any way, because the images must have non-commercial license to increase their application (and conform to our own principles). On the same note, the images we use should be vetted, so they are copyright-free, or used with permission of the copyright holder.

I guess my approach is to focus on the guilt and shame, forget about the healthy tips (healthy tips don’t work for memes, IMHO). The point is the easiest way for the new expression to go viral is to allow people to point fingers (unlike smoking, very importantly: rare is the person who will say “You are a bloody smoker” or shame a person into quitting his habit). It is socially acceptable (and your friend won’t take offense, unlike a smoker) to accuse someone of being a “phone zombie”.

Again, people love to judge and tease their friends. In this contexy, friends won’t take it the wrong way. They will admit their behavior is inappropriate, and switch gears. They may change their habits (hopefully) and later accuse their own friends to act as “phone zombies”.

Adding the word “bloody” makes it lively. It is a word commonly used in all sorts of contexts, not that bad. I am not an English native speaker, but I feel that adding “bloody” puts emphasis and makes the whole thing funny, as a joke. Really works in social contexts, which is where this new expression would spread.

As to “Google slut”, maybe over the top, but I like it. It says everything. We are whoring our secret thoughts to Google in exchange for free information on the most embarassing topics. It is pejorative, comparing the recipient to someone who doesn’t care who he is sleeping with, with the risk of getting STDs in the process. Makes a lot of sense.

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My thinking on the whole thing:

  • Introducing new words and expressions is almost the same as introducing new ideas and concepts, i.e. a new concept leads to a new word, but a new, catchy word, leads to a new concept
  • Shaming would be the idea there. Not shaming everyone, not at all. Rather, give bullets to everyone to condemn technology usage that is unhealthy (phone zombie) or dangerous (Google slut) and allow them to easily shame and tease their friends in everyday conversations (I know, I know, I use the darkest sides of human nature to advance our cause, but we need to work with humanity as it is)
  • Using lewd or provocative languages works. Most guys out there, including yours truly, are perfectly fine using crude words like “bloody” (not so crude) or “slut” (ok, maybe a bit more crude). Every culture has a rich repository of crude words, for good reasons: we love to be crude when we socialize with friends (you have no idea how crude the various Chinese dialects can be).
  • Let us make it competitive. Once we got some sort of consensus about a new expression, people come forward with meme ideas. If too crude, or unethical in any way, we dont promote; otherwise we post a call to action in the forum and ask the community to start spreading. As I said, at some point, we will strike gold. One day, we may travel to the far side of this world, start a discussion with strangers, and they will use these very words. That day, we will feel amazing.

Yes, this was what I meant. Entirely unsuited for memes, and outside scope of Speak Easy / Phone Zombie.

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@aschrijver

I know there is a lot on your plate right now, but looking forward to your launching the Speak Easy theme and related campaigns. The path forward seems straightforward to me: propose new expressions, validate them, and then review all meme ideas and promote them. We could get there very easily and quickly, in my view.

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We could also spread a “dictionary” consisting of multiple definitions, including the one you gave for “Phone zombies” in your earlier post, or one for “Google slut”, defined as “someone who whores his most private thoughts to Google in exchange for free information on embarrassing topics”. Some definitions would be picked up, some not.

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After reading your guidelines on copyright infringement on Github, @aschrijver, I feel a bit bad for having posted this. You’re right, let’s make sure we always act in an ethical manner, and I am pretty sure we can find stock pictures or free pictures suitable for our purposes.

Don’t worry. It took me quite some time myself, before I appreciated the value of honoring source code licenses :slight_smile:

Google Images (images.google.com) offers a way to find non-copyrighted images. If you first do a search, then select from the toolbar Tools > Usage rights, there you’ll find options of licenses. And there are many repositories. Some need signup, some not. I always prefer Wikimedia or Wikipedia as sources.

(BTW You’ll find how selecting an open license limits the amount of stuff that is out there, so you have to be creative)

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Here is a picture that would work to show an actual zombie looking down (first of two pictures in the meme):

The superinposed text would be something like “Arent you a bloody zombie”.

Here is a picture I found actually searching “phone zombie pictures” (obviously copyrighted).

Text could be “Aren’t you a bloody phone zombie”

We would need to find a free or stock picture showing a guy, funnily bending over like in the first picture, looking at his phone. The example here is just to show some memes already exist.

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Cool! The second picture is an (probably illegal) derivative of Steve Cutts work, whom I mentioned yesterday in our ‘Video inspiration’ issue. See more of his work there. His video’s have received many millions of views.

I’ve reached out to Steve via LinkedIn to thank him and told him, we want to reach the same level of impact with our crowdsourced Awareness Campaign project. Who knows, maybe he wants to give us some advice, or even lend a hand.

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Great stuff. Yeah, for this meme idea to go viral, we need to juxtapose the first picture (I think it is a stock picture, I can pay for its unlimited use if needed) with a similar picture of a single guy in a very similar pose, comically bending over more than is necessary, this time holding a phone.

We can even take the bloody picture ourselves, not that hard, we dont need beautiful models and professional photographers for this to work. Yeah, would be harder to find a real zombie to model for the first picture.

Anyway, as I would suggest, let us move further discussions on this to Github, now that the campaign and theme have been created.

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Yes, let’s continue on Github, but I want to thank you for your kind offer to contribute financially! We’ll get there when we get there, (and are at a state where we can honor donators and give proper attribution).

One note on the meme right above (the probably illegal use of copyrighted work), the message says “Today’s generation of zombies”. I feel we will have much more viral potential if we, as I proposed earlier, offer a way for anyone to tease their friends engaging in such behavior. The means would be to put it this way “Aren’t you a bloody phone zombie”. Ok, I repeat myself, but it is a key point, I believe. Enough with that! Over and out.

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