You know them: Facebook friends who use a pet photo as their profile picture. Even worse, people whose pets have their own websites and insist on updating Fluffy’s status more often than their own.
Freaks? Nope. They’re just some of the 50% of people who use social networking for pets* to brag about their babies, post cute pictures and videos, share information and chat with others who are obsessed with their pets.
According to a recent article from the U.K.-based Telegraph, one in 10 British pets has his or her own Facebook page. Although I don’t have statistics for American pet owners, I have the feeling that far more than half of us brag about our pets on Facebook. Even the guy who invented Facebook has a page set up for his Puli, Beast.
Where I Draw the Line
Personally, I see nothing wrong with a pet profile pic; nor do I have a problem with people who talk about their pets a lot (I could talk about dogs all day long). I am proud to post my dogs in my profile picture, and I love it when adoptive parents create FB pages for dogs they’ve adopted from me — endless pictures!
I do draw the line at email forwards with pictures of pets in clothing (I’ve seen them all anyway) and friend requests from people I don’t know who happen to have Dachshunds. It’s a sweet gesture, but if everyone with a Dachshund on FB friended me, I would have more friends than Paris Hilton. Dachshunds are very popular!
Social Networking for Pets
If you don’t have a Facebook page for your pet(s), jump on the virtual bandwagon with one of these social networking sites:
- Facebook: Make a page for your pet, upload pictures and chat with other pet people.
- Twitter: Tweet about your pet (no more than one tweet per day, please).
- Pinterest: It’s all about the photos. Tons and tons of photos of your pet.
- StumbleUpon: Find content about pets or submit sites to share with others.
- Digg: Similar to StumbleUpon, but more of a social community.
- Reddit: Use the numerous pets message boards to talk about your babies.
- Care2: Network with other pets people, read tragic animal stories, sign petitions and chat with other pet owners.
- Yahoo Groups: Find a virtual group of pals to share pets-related information and stories about the adorable thing your kitten did yesterday.
- Meetup: Find a real-life group of pets people who get together and do pets-related things.
- Dogster & Catster: Species-specific sites with thriving pets communities; like Facebook, your dog or cat can have his or her own page.
- YouTube: Post a video of your kitten or puppy doing adorable things.
These sites are my favorites, but a quick Internet search will reveal countless other opportunities for your pup or kitty to make virtual friends.
*As much as I’m tempted, I will NOT make any kind of “social petworking” jokes in this article as a number of other writers have already used this pun in their online articles. As Oscar Levant said: “A pun is the lowest form of humor — if you didn’t think of it first.”
Fido & Facebook
Check out this excellent infographic from InternetService.net on the phenomenon of social networking for pets.