Tweet, Woof, Miaow – Welcome to Social Petworking!


If you thought a dog’s networking site was his local lamppost, think again. It seems that pets are more popular than celebrities on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube according to Pet Plan, the pet insurers, who have conducted a survey into the ‘social petworking’ phenomenon.

Apparently it all started with Beast, the pet dog of Mark Zuckerburg, super-geek and founder of Facebook, who has his own Facebook page (well he would, wouldn’t he?). But top dog at the moment is Boo, ‘the world’s cutest dog’, who has 1.4 million ‘likes’ – or should that be ‘licks’ on the world’s pre-eminent networking site.

Cats – always the dirtiest fighters – have clawed their way even further up the ratings, with Maru (a sort of on-line successor to Bagpuss) being the star of more than 6 million views on YouTube. As they used to say in Hollywood, you should never work with animals or children – now it seems they’ve stolen the show on the web as well! This puts me in mind of a jokey greetings card I picked up in WHSmith the other day, which showed two dogs using a PC to access a dating site. One taps on the keys whilst his companion, urging him on, says “Don’t worry, on the internet, no-one knows you’re a dog”.

Actually, I think the joke is on us. My advice to social networkers trying to make it big is: on the internet no-one knows you’re not a dog – so why not pass yourself off as one, maybe a nice friendly Labrador who’s ready to go and fetch the paper, lead the blind or perform other necessary and rewardable social functions. The business potential is tremendous too – why else would Pet Plan have commissioned the research? Imagine having Boo pass the word to fellow pooches about the scrumptiousness of Spratt’s Bonio, or Maru the cat giving a YouTube demo of opening a ring-pull can of Kit-e-Kat: “Owner away? – serve yourself today!”