Interested in Hosting a Zombie Apocalypse? Try Facebook.

zombielogoA University of South Dakota junior worked with friends to create a campus-wide game of Humans versus Zombies, and Facebook made it happen. Inspired to create an event “that doesn’t involve drinking”, Elyse Taylor scoured the web and found the Humans Versus Zombies website. Inspired to get the game going at USD, she asked the permission of the Dean to run the campus-wide game and once approved, created a Facebook group. Within a week she had 200 participants and with the recent press expects it to grow past 300 users.

The phenomenon of this event demonstrates the real power of social networks, to immediately spread good ideas across various subnetworks within a meta-network. In this case, students at USD were able to pass this along by sharing the event on their wall and inviting friends, and the event permeated various social groups within the school. A lot of the members who are attending the Humans Vs Zombies event don’t know Elyse and were invited by friends. In the past, Elyse would have had to print flyers, post them around school and would have no idea about how many people would be attending her event, and her nerves would run high as she anxiously awaited students at the event opening.

With Facebook, she solves the problem of capacity planning because she has a general idea of how many people accepted and will attend. She also solves distribution and cost-effectiveness by posting a free event notice to all of her friends. She does good for the environment by not printing hundreds of flyers. Most importantly, she is able to do this all very quickly, which allows the spontaneity of the event to remain and allows her to focus her time on the fun stuff: planning this awesome human/zombie war.

Flash mobs are another interesting phenomena which have become empowered by Facebook, and there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing more events like this. Location-based features will also make this something that could literally occur within the span of five minutes. Imagine inviting all Facebook users within a 3 block radius to come to an impromptu concert. That is definitely something we’ll see, soon. The question is whether it will be Facebook or Twitter who lead the way.