Mayan Apocalypse Plays Mostly for Laughs Online
It seems that few are taking seriously the end of the world, scheduled for this Friday, Dec. 21. In fact, social media users are having a blast with the disaster scenario.
More soberly, NASA has issued a statement to calm those worried about sudden demise, saying, "The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."
In contrast to NASA's earnest approach, social media users prefer their doomsday busters with a side of humor. But they're really saying the same thing: the world will not end Friday, so wrap those gifts , pay your bills and plan to get to work on time.
Posts from Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Instagram and other social media networks tend to fall into five categories:
1. Survival tips: While most are silly, e.g., "print out the entire Internet," in the New York Times' comic strip "Mayan Apocalypse Survival Kit," you might find a tip or two that could come in handy for an "ordinary" emergency, such as a power outage during a big storm. Alternately, check out our Prepare Your Tech for Disasters guide.
2. Excuse for sex: Some people will say anything to talk someone into hooking up, and what better line than "It's our last day on Earth"? A doctored image of the iPhone weather app is popping up on Tumblr and Instagram, showing the usual sunny and stormy icons for Monday through Thursday. However, "sex" replaces Friday with the requisite meteors.
3. Pop culture: And then there are the takes on popular books, TV shows and movies. The meme "Brace Yourself" shows "Game of Thrones " hero Ned Stark saying, "I survived 21st of December. Posts are coming." You'll also find Bart Simpson bemoaning the world's fate wearing a sandwich board, and a rebellious Jack Frost Overland assuring everyone that he's survived many end-of-the-worlds.
4. Number crunchers: Lest anyone is taking this week's doomsday prediction seriously, some individuals have run the numbers to point out how this date was selected in error. "There have been about 514 leap years since Caesar created [them] in 45BC. Without the extra day every 4 years, today would be July 28, 2013. Also, the Mayan calendar did not account for leap year. So technically the world should have ended 7 months ago," awkwardturtlealliance posted on Tumblr .
5. Name brand spoofs: Kraft Foods has launched a campaign around Jell-O, called Funpocalypse, that it is promoting at the top of Mayan Apocalypse-related searches on Twitter. The tweet links to a YouTube video showing how Jell-O Pudding is the way to appease the gods and save civilization.
But not all are laughing off the apocalypse as a joke. Tumblr user youleavemelikebloodfrommyveins, posted a statement that has become especially poignant in light of recent events :
"Maybe this is what the Mayans predicted. Not an asteroid, or a solar flare, but the end of what we are. We no longer cherish life, or other people, even the Earth or the animals and resources put on it. War, genocide, abuse, senseless mass murder, animal cruelty, gluttony, greed, waste and lust. Look around you, the end of the world is already here."