For those of us with cats, it may not come as great of a shock considering a cat’s propensity to sit on laptops or put their paws on a keyboard resulting in many unintended messages like “sssssssssssdfjl,” but according to a study published today by PetPlan insurance, one in ten pets in the UK have their own Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account.
That’s right, 10 percent! Animals have infiltrated the social networks in a trend deemed “petworking.” Boo, an absolutely adorable dog on Facebook, has his own page and is liked by nearly 1.4 million people. Beast, the dog of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, has more than 146,000 “likes.”
The study even suggested that some “animals are more popular than celebrities on Facebook and other social networking sites.” It is, for instance, relatively likely that you’ve come across a video of Maru the cat on YouTube as readily as you would stumble across the video for a major recording artist. Maru’s adventures boast over 6 million views and 140,000 subscribers.
Due to the success social networks have found with the petworking trend, more sites that are pet-centered like Critter, Catster and Doggie Dating have also begun to appear. Some companies have even dedicated websites to their pets, raising money for rescue centers and animal welfare charities in the process. Romeo, a cat from New York, and his owner have raised over $50,000 in two years and have almost 10,000 followers. Sockington the cat has nearly 1.5 million followers on Twitter with nearly 8,000 tweets to his name.
I’ve got admit that it does seem somewhat strange and silly, but at the same time, I am friends with Stanley, my friend’ s dog, on Facebook and when I looked up Boo, it was hard not to “like” the cute little pup myself. But why?
Social media specialist Stephen Davies thinks he has the answer. “As social networking plays an increasingly important role in our lives, it’s only natural that our pets become part of the phenomenon, too. We use sites like Facebook and Twitter as an extension of our real-world selves, and when we think of our pets as part of the family, we want them involved too.”
So, what do you think? Do you “like” pets? Follow them? Are you friends with your cat on Facebook? Either way, petworking seems to be a growing trend.