I was scrubbing my facebook wall clean, deleting old posts that seemed antiquated. But then I started noticing that past (embarrassing) posts that I thought I’d deleted kept reappearing on my wall, as if rising from the dead. If these status updates had arms they’d be flailing about in front of their torsos reaching for flesh to devour. If these status updates had eyes they’d be empty, pupils gone, engulfed by a dull white space.
My mouse was now a double-barreled shotgun, and I was gunning these zombies down one by one. They kept coming back, and they were ugly. A pretentious, pseudo-intellectual post about Obamacare. A wounded, defensive post lashing out against folks that complain about others blowing up their news feeds. A humorless quip about an obscure news story from that particular day, touched up with the appropriate dose of sarcasm. Self-aggrandizement, all of it. Things that before the Age Of Sharing I might have quietly mused upon on my own and moved on – and here I was broadcasting everything to four hundred facebook friends. My personal problems. My relationships. My family. My failures. My anger. My amusement. My meanderings. One. By. One. I extinguished them all with my mouse. And yet, more kept reappearing, rising from the dead. I had sown the seeds for quite a few of these in the past calendar year.
What I felt was sadness – how insufferable I must’ve been! And then awe. At the people who forgave me and still put up with me. And then understanding. For the people who began to tune me out. After twenty nine years of measured restraint in self-expression, I had let the floodgates open, releasing my impulses into the cyberspace. And most of what came out was not too compelling.
Some words retain their meaning and value through the test of time; others have a half-life of mere minutes. And sometimes, when they are reborn under the strange alchemy of software bugs and glitches, they reveal themselves to be quite hideous in their undead form.
Words can become zombies.