Remember the Digg effect, also seen at Fark.com? Remember fortifying servers to withstand a sudden influx of web traffic due to something on the site gaining immediate viral popularity? The phenomenon still exists, although, Digg is rarely the guilty party anymore. No, the burning wreck that is Digg, previously one of the most popular link aggregates in the world, has been replaced by services like Facebook and Twitter.
Just ask the Center for Disease Control, aka, the CDC.
A few hours ago, the CDC tweeted about a blog post on their site, called "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse" Considering the unending popularity of zombies, strongly perpetuated by the web culture, the CDC's web server was subsequently blitzed by page requests. In fact, it's tempting to compare the CDC's careless disregard for their site's bandwidth along the same lines as throwing a server into a pit of molten lava.
Zombies are just that popular with the Internet crowd (over 12 million Google results for the keyphrase, "zombie t-shirts"), and because of their popularity, people are just waiting for an official institution to suggest the dead rising from the grave is a possibility. Consider the Boston Police's flirtation with a potential zombie outbreak on Twitter and the follow-up reaction for further evidence. Granted, the CDC's tweet and post was likely in jest -- and an attempt to generate pageviews -- the reaction still brought their web server to its knees, at least the one that hosts the blog post in question. While the CDC's blog post eventually loads, the site is definitely struggling.
Even Google Cache is having a hard time loading its snapshot.
Clearly, the lessons about fortifying your web server, bracing it for a potential
Digg social media/immediate viral popularity effect is still an applicable guideline to adhere to -- especially when zombies are the subject matter. As for the post itself, here's a screenshot snippet:
We've also snagged a full screen capture of the entire post, which is available here. An example of what you can expect:
The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder "How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?"
The question I can't help but ask is, if the CDC can't handle an increase in web traffic, how in the world will they handle an unrelenting zombie outbreak? The early returns are not promising.