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Amassing Your Army for the Zombie Apocalypse Out of Active Twitter Followers

Let’s pretend we live in a dystopian society on the brink of a zombie apocalypse, and the only army you can amass to fight 12,000,000 of the undead are the active Twitter followers of Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome), or Justin Bieber (@justinbieber).

Neil Gaiman, by the way, has 1,753,633 followers.  Stephen Colbert has 3,796,206.  And Justin Bieber is pulling in 26,614,116.

You’d get a scorching case of Bieber fever and go with the teen heartthrob, outnumbering the zombies 2:1, right?  But not so fast.  If you want to survive the zombie apocalypse, you’re going to have to pay attention to the small details.  Notice I said active followers — let’s take a look at how many of those followers are actual human beings who log into Twitter regularly.

According to StatusPeople, only 41% of Gaiman’s followers are active Twitter users.  15% of those 1,753,633 followers are robots and another 44% of the followers are inactive.  Colbert has an equal percentage of actual users — 41% — though his robots (28%) and inactive (31%) break down differently.  Lastly, Bieber clocks in with a lower 36% actual users (with 31% robots and 33% inactive).  Making that 26,614,116 closer to 9,581,081.  Still an impressive number.  But if you had to fight 12,000,000 zombies and thought you’d have an enormous advantage with Bieber’s original follower number, you’d be sorely mistaken.  In fact, you are outnumbered and the zombies are most definitely eating your brain.


You may be wondering how I’d fare when the zombies come.  Out of my 2,775 Twitter followers, 89% (or 2,470) are active users.  Which means I have a decent fight machine in my back pocket.  Other than amassing this zombie army, that number is fairly meaningless.  It doesn’t tell you how many of those 2,470 actually give a shit and would chop off a zombie’s head if it were eating me.  How many of those 2,470 would give me their opinion on what to buy at the hardware store if I was zombie-proofing my home.  How many of those 2,470 would cry with me if the zombies got to Cozy Jackson. (Do zombies eat hamsters?)

By which I mean, I’m not going to put too much stock in numbers.  I’m not going to put much stock in my number or your number of Bieber’s number.  Because they’re all just numbers.  And they can’t keep you safe when the zombies come.


1 Ana { 08.14.12 at 10:19 pm }

Ha!!! Love it. And love the metaphor. Quality not quantity…except when it comes to braaaaaaiiiiinnnnnssss.

2 Kristin { 08.14.12 at 10:19 pm }

Love this!

3 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.14.12 at 10:21 pm }

And let’s face it: out of Bieber’s 9 million, how many do you think are 12-year-old girls? How are THEY going to help me when the zombies come? I mean maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe Colbert’s followers will fight hard. But Bieber’s? Forget it.

4 Brid { 08.14.12 at 10:25 pm }

I’d be the hoser with no one next to me… I’m not on twitter. But perhaps I would be able to hide much easier without an army. I am always afraid of the randomness of the masses. Maybe I could stealthily sneak into a dark corner of a pub, and have a drink whilst the zombies rage on. Will they come to Canada?

5 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.14.12 at 10:27 pm }

Are you KIDDING? They are starting in Canada, decimating Canada. They are going to drink the maple syrup right out of the trees to go along with their brain pancakes.

Um… I am going to duck now while my Canadian friends pummel me.

6 a { 08.14.12 at 11:06 pm }

If I were going to choose, I’d most likely go with Gaiman’s followers, as they might actually have an idea of how to fight zombies. Regardless of the numbers. Strategery!

Of course, like Brid, I’d have no way to access them, since I refuse to get involved in Twitter. Or Pinterest. Or Google+ I should really get off the internet altogether and attend to my 17 projects that I don’t feel like finishing. Of course, in a zombie apocalypse, it won’t much matter if my projects are done. All that matters is where to find the shotgun and shells…

7 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.14.12 at 11:13 pm }

96% of my 2461 followers are active, meaning that I’m fairly well-matched with you at 2363.


There is a good chance that MY followers would actually EAT brains, CRAVE brains, whereas many of yours are likely vegetarian.

8 tigger62077 { 08.14.12 at 11:25 pm }

I don’t have many followers – 51, actually. But the good news is that none of them are fake (I block them the instant they follow me) and 90% are active. Most of them would know what to do in a zombpocalyse. Whether or not they’d let me in to share their resources is another matter – I know of a few who definitely would.

Some of my followers are people who follow Gaiman AND Colbert but NOT Beiber, so I think I’m covered. I would *definitely* go with Gaiman, though – like “a” said above, they’re most likely to know what to do.

9 Justine { 08.15.12 at 12:23 am }

I only have 88 followers. They’re probably all active, but most of them don’t care a bit about me. So I’m dead, any way you slice it. Or slice me, I guess.

On the other hand … if one of my Twitter followers is active and DOES care, then maybe they’ll amass THEIR armies, and so on, and so on, and so on? Isn’t that the point of Twitter?

A timely reminder today, though, as I obsess(ed) over numbers.

10 Meghan { 08.15.12 at 12:57 am }

I’m not on twitter but there’s something about robots following you that is almost as scary as zombies attacking. Am I the only one who saw iRobot?

11 Mud Hut Mama { 08.15.12 at 5:34 am }

I am not on twitter but I love reading your posts about social media and hearing your take on them. At the moment I’m on facebook and pinterest and they are plenty for me – unless of course there is a zombie invasion. In that case – I’m screwed.

12 Stinky { 08.15.12 at 5:45 am }

oh wow, thanks, this post just broke last nights dream (being chased down by zombies and holed up in my parents house shooting at them).

Got my first bot (I assume) following me on twitter too today too (Out of about all both tweets I’ve managed – woah! go me!!)

Spoooky *dons tinfoil hat* (also love the social media posts too)

13 Tiara { 08.15.12 at 8:07 am }

I would totally chop off a zombie’s head if it were eating you!

In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, now the 1st thing I’ll do is join Twitter, just to be safe.

14 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.15.12 at 9:50 am }

I too would want Neil Gaiman’s followers protecting me. I just get a strong vibe that they’d know how to take down a zombie. I also would be fine taking Stephen Colbert’s followers because if his followers are anything like his television demographic, they are made up of spry young men. They seem scrappy. I bet his million+ could give 12 million zombies a run for their money, or at least come up with clever places to hide/booby-trap houses.

Bieber may have large numbers, but will his followers really be able to protect me? Will the average Bieber fan have the same mad skillz as a Gaiman fan or the brawn of a Colbert fan? Numbers are meaningless when it comes to the zombies and social media.

15 Keiko { 08.15.12 at 10:10 am }

As far as I’m concerned, the only numbers that matter in the zombie apocalypse:

+ Weapon weight
+ Number of weapons
+ Weapon caliber
+ Remaining ammo
+ Hours until nightfall
+ Distance to Canadian border

16 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.15.12 at 10:17 am }

Didn’t you read above, Keiko? I’m predicting they will be COMING from Canada. Run. Run!!!

17 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.15.12 at 10:19 am }

I want to especially thank Tiara for saying she would come to my rescue during the zombie apocalypse. I just want to point out that the rest of you have essentially said it’s every woman for herself with her silence. See, numbers mean nothing. Who the hell cares if you have a billion followers or blog readers or friends on Facebook if they won’t come to your aid in chopping off a zombie’s head?

And for the record, though I would scream hysterically in the same way I scream when I suck a cricket into the Dyson, I would take off the zombie head for every person I have in my Google Reader.

18 missohkay { 08.15.12 at 10:34 am }

I would want the Bloggess’s followers in a zombie apocalypse because I think they’d be the most prepared. Though Neil Gaiman’s followers would probably be quite prepared as well.

19 missohkay { 08.15.12 at 10:36 am }

And I would definitely chop off some heads for my bloggy friends. I’ve read World War Z, so I am somewhat knowledgeable in Zombie takedown methods.

20 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.15.12 at 10:36 am }

That is true. Her numbers are small, comparatively. But they’re feisty. And feisty will win out every time.

21 Manapan { 08.15.12 at 12:01 pm }

Sure, the Bieliebers aren’t going to be as scrappy, as well-prepared, or as knowledgeable as Gaiman’s, Colbert’s, or the Bloggess’s armies. But there are a few advantages to taking the Bieber followers. One, like you said, is that they’re mostly tween girls. They’re small enough that you might be able to use them as a weapon. Just grab them by the ankles and turn in circles to protect your perimeter. Two, their numbers mean you can use them as human shields. Distract the zombies with a tasty, defenseless brain while you run. Three, the following two advantages could get you accepted into a different army and then you’d have way more troops.

22 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.15.12 at 12:05 pm }

But here is the problem: Though I am 38 years old, I am the size of an average 10-year-old boy. How will I lift the Bieber followers to use them as a human shield?

Note to self: start weight lifting regimen.

23 Kathy { 08.15.12 at 1:14 pm }

A very entertaining post and comment section! I don’t have anything clever to add, but enjoyed the stats and discussion.

24 loribeth { 08.15.12 at 3:04 pm }

Note: Justin Bieber is from Canada. ; )

25 Lollipop Goldstein { 08.15.12 at 3:06 pm }

This is proof somehow! The zombies are invading from Canada!

26 Mic { 08.15.12 at 9:33 pm }

This post is awesome 🙂

I’d wack some zombies to save you from harm, Mel. 🙂

27 Emily @ablanket2keep { 08.16.12 at 1:11 pm }

I love this post! I think us ALI bloggers would be fine against zombies! We have been through more difficult things than someone trying to eat our brains. If we stand together I bet we could save the world!

28 Bea { 08.17.12 at 9:05 am }

But the real question is… How many veterinarians do you have following you on twitter?

Actually, since we all know zombie apocalypses are won by small groups of anarchists and vigilantes, you probably want my army. I can’t even remember who follows me on twitter. Heck, i can’t even remember what i’m called on twitter. Do you happen to have me there somewhere Mel? Because if yes, the brain defense thing is absolutely on.


29 Bea { 08.17.12 at 9:06 am }

Assuming planes are still flying in and out of the American continent, that is. Can zombies swim? Maybe I should consider staying put…

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