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Animals Add New Dimension to Social Networking

Published: October 2, 2013 (Issue # 1780)



  • Boo is a 7 year-old Pomeranian who first shot to international fame in May 2009.
    Photo: facebook.com

  • Giant George is 109 centimeters tall and, until 2012, was the tallest dog in the world.
    Photo: facebook.com

  • Nonja, with just over 75,000 followers, is 37 years old and lives at the Vienna Zoo.
    Photo: facebook.com

  • Grumpy Cat became an Internet sensation after her photo was posted on Reddit.
    Photo: facebook.com

Around 23 million of the estimated 955 million Facebook profiles belong to animals, according to a Facebook report from 2012. One in 10 of all U.K. pets have their own Twitter account, YouTube channel or social network page. And while videos are mostly a cat’s prerogative, more dogs are likely to have a social networking profile, reveals research by Yummypets, a social network for pet owners established in France with more than 150,000 members from all over the world.

Social networks for fluffy users have become more and more widespread. As expected, pet owners are very passionate about their animals and are happy to interact with each other. Taking these conversations to a social network seems a natural next step.

“The emergence of a social network for animals is a natural development of the idea,” said psychologist Natalya Seiler. “Human progress is mostly based on an idea that is conceived by one person within a group of people. Others just adopt this idea and then come up with their own variations on the idea.

“For example, one visionary had the idea of creating a social network. And today we can observe more and more versions of this idea being developed — social networks for classmates, for professional contacts, for people who want to get acquainted and, finally, for pet lovers.”

There are about 20 websites from various countries that allow users to create profile pages for pets, exchange photos and join different groups. A typical homepage for a pet on these websites includes a familiar set of personal data — profile pictures, photos and videos, status updates and commenting between pets and their owners. Pets can also befriend one another.

“Pet parents enjoy having a place for unlimited uploads of pet photos and videos alongside knowledge and know-how from the community, which creates a supportive network of like-minded animal lovers,” said Charlie Léon, Community Manager, YummyPets, speaking to the St. Petersburg Times.

There is Petigram, a version of Instagram; specialized networks like Catmoji, Catster or Dogster and general sites for all kind of pets from guinea pigs to horses, like MySocialPetwork or A4Animals. (The latter is considered to be the first social network for animals in the world.)

The idea for such a network was thought up following the death of a Labrador named Ben, a dog which belonged to Martin Bowen, the founder of A4Animals. Bowen suffered greatly and wanted to commemorate the life he shared with his pet.

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Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.