Barking Up The Wrong Tweet

21 02 2010

We love our pets.

There are 93.6 million cats and 77.5 million dogs with adoring USAmerican masters who spend about $40 billion each year doting on them. And if you are like me, you often treat them as voting members of the household. You provide plush pet beds. Enough treats to get them through a nuclear holocaust. You talk to them. And, no kidding, you even speak for them. As if they had a voice.

With that in mind, it is little wonder that Mattel has come up with Puppy Tweets. It answers the pressing question, What if dogs participated in social networks?” You know what they say about inquiring minds.

Actually, the question has already been posed. By someone I know. And work with. A lot. No names here my dear friend, but I remember you telling me one day how your son had created a Facebook page for your dog. And you, being the perfect Mom, did not interfere. Right then I knew I had a blog topic, so I filed it away for the right moment.

Like now.

If Cupid (the name has been changed to protect you) can have a FB page, then why can’t the other 77 million dogs jump online? Surely all of our canine friends have thoughts that are tweetworthy. (Never mind the cats. They’re so self-absorbed anyway.)

Puppy Tweets is the gateway that makes doggie status updates possible. Consisting of a collar (for the dog, not you) and a USB wifi thingy, it is activated when the dog moves around. The software comes with 500 stock tweets that are randomly loaded to the dog’s Twitter account. And if you want, you can just as easily mirror it to your FB account.

Hey Cupid, quit licking yourself.

The problem (What? There’s a problem with this?!) is that the posted tweet probably will not match the dog’s actions, because…well, you silly goose! If dogs had language skills and opposable thumbs, they would be doing this themselves. Without the assistance of Mattel. Duh.

And with only 500 pre-loaded yaps and barks, you will eventually start going into reruns. Of course, dogs only do about 4 or 5 things anyway, so 500 is rather generous. When you sleep 23 hours a day, there’s just not a whole lot to tweet home about. Hell, there are still over 200 million people in the US without FB accounts (and many more without Twitter). This majority doesn’t give a flip about what you are doing, much less your dog.

I don’t even know that I will follow Cupid on Twitter if my colleague buys into this Puppy Tweets idea. You see, I already have an online canine friend, Doozle (@DogFromBeyond on Twitter, and owned by a former student of mine with an insane sense of humor). Doozle doesn’t have to wear a confining collar, and thinks real thoughts. Way more than 500 of them. Mattel should have consulted with him first.

And lest my colleague (and hopefully friend still) takes umbrage with my rant, she can sic Cupid on me. Besides, I’ve been waiting to use my favorite Normism again anyway. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.

‘Scuse me while I tweet this guy.

Dr “Sit, Ubu, sit. Good Dog.” Gerlich



One response

21 02 2010

We were JUST talking about this in my Digital Promotions class on Friday at Colorado State University!

Interesting stuff, although be it kind of pointless (in my opinion). Instead of asking the question “what if dogs could participate in social media,” I think the question should be “When does social media cross the line and become frivolous?” My answer: when dogs start “tweeting”.

Great entry! Thanks for sharing.

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