A couple of years ago, being the obsessive canine parent that I am, I decided it would be entertaining to put my dog Marcy on the internet. At that time I was still in college, so I created a Facebook account, which at the time was gaining popularity across various college campuses. Eventually, I also created a twitter account for her. Both accounts were started as experiments. I wanted to see how people in my social network would react to my dog “friending” or “following” them on the internet. I knew I wasn’t the first person to put my pet on social media, but I still wanted to test it within my own circle of friends.
The results surprised me. Marcy began to take on an online life of her own. I started receiving friend requests on her Facebook account from people I had never met. These requests varied from friends of friends who met her while my roommates “borrowed” her to other dogs that had met her while she was at the dog park. It felt like a natural progression, you meet my dog and she will friend you.
Her Twitter account had similar results. She followed my friends, and they followed her, but she also attracted other followers I hadn’t anticipated. Just as other pets friended her on facebook, animals were also becoming her followers on twitter.
My experiment is obviously ongoing as social media changes from day to day. Involving Marcy in social media has not only allowed me to show the impact she has made on me, but I am also able to see the connections she makes with others.