Does Your Dog Have a Facebook Profile?
Dog profiles on Facebook have become incredibly popular. There many pets, including some belonging to the rich and famous, who have their own social media presence. In this article, Holidays4Dogs asks why so many pet dogs now have a canine Facebook profile. Does your dog have a Facebook profile?
According to figures by the pet insurance company petplan, one in ten pets in the UK has their own Facebook, or twitter account. 14 per cent of pet lovers maintain a profile on behalf of their furry friends. Just why people enjoy setting up profile pages for their pets isn’t completely understood and there is little research on the subject.
Human – animal interaction.
However, one possible reason is that domestic pets, dogs in particular, share so much of modern human lives. Through social media dogs are able to feature in their owner’s virtual lives as well.
Dogs especially, seem to be expected to play certain roles with increasing intensity by their owners; from objects of self definition to chief sources of emotional support.
Even the founder of Facebook itself, Mark Zuckerberg, decided to set up a page for his dog, ‘Beast’. ‘Beast’ has an enormous number of followers, having the thumbs up from no fewer than 2,000,000 people and increasing every day.
Having a social media account for a pet can help owners to meet up with like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to share stories and photographs of much loved pets. Research into the psychology of social media, tells us one of the main reasons people enjoy connecting with others, is a sense of belonging to a community. Social media is also the way in which lost dogs are identified and comfort derived by distraught owners.
This is particularly so if it is interest related, such as pet owning. Including pets into the realms of social networking, also provides the individual with extra creative license, as seen through the eyes of their dog, or other pet.
Giving pets a voice.
While many of us, myself included, affectionately assign certain human characteristics to our pets, social media allows us to give our pets their own ‘voice’. There may be justified criticism that, as owners, we have the responsibility to project our pets in an ethical manner. In a way, for instance, which does not suggest the dog is anything other than a dog.
The majority of people understand this and realise that dogs, broadly speaking, do not understand the human perspective, or condition. While using a pet, via social media to fulfil a certain role, we must remember that this is really about the fulfilment of the human self.
Creating a social media account for a pet could be described as another form of anthropomorphism – the attachment of human characteristics to an animal, (or an object). This has its down-sides. Many people, for example, might argue that, creating social media accounts for pets, deconstructs the identities of animals and devalues them to nothing more than objects; sometimes of ridicule.
However, others would say, this is now one of the more sophisticated roles of the modern dog, to contribute to the creation of the human self.
Love me, love my dog.
There are many people who define themselves by their pets and see them as extensions of themselves. This may explain people’s fascination for including their pets in the social media world.
There are lots of animals you can follow via social media. If, like Zuckerbergs ‘Beast’, they happen to belong to one of the richest men in the world, fans are able to gain a tiny glimpse into that world. Canine companion, Maggie May, belonged to tennis genius Andy Murray. She was often captured posing for the camera, wearing some of Murray’s medals. Sadly, Maggie passed away in 2022 and Murray took to social media to relay the heart-breaking news.
There’s no doubt that pet related social network pages aimed specifically at animals are growing by the day. With sites like Dogster and MyDogSpace, owners can create a page for their dog and connect with a community of dog lovers. The only thing we may have to worry about is our dogs may become more popular than us!