Friday, April 20, 2012
One cannot help but notice the growing popularity of pets on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Given the number of pet lovers in the world, it shouldn’t be shocking to discover that some pets have more fans than many celebrities. But did you know some pets are even more popular on Facebook than prominent media organizations? Last year, social media news blog Mashable compared the fan bases of some popular internet pets to major media outlets, and the pets trumped CNN, FOX News, ESPN, the New York Times, Current and People Magazine!
Some of the most popular pets on Facebook gained notoriety first, and their large Facebook following came later. However, many were unknowns who somehow managed to captivate the masses. Perhaps most telling of all, the popular pet pages on Facebook are purported to be managed by the pets themselves. According to the Daily Telegraph online newspaper, “One in ten of all UK pets have their own Facebook page, Twitter profile or YouTube channel…” Some pets even have all three!
Further, legions of people seemingly buy into the notion that cats and dogs are capable of using a computer and thus, are managing their own Facebook pages and interacting with their fans. Ok, seriously…they know pets can’t type but prefer to look the other way for the sake of the fantasy. At least, I hope that’s what’s happening here. LOL.
As a pet lover, I understand. So many times, I’ve been caught up in the ‘voice’ of a particular Facebook pet that I find myself believing that what they said actually came from them and not their human servant. Well, not really…but almost. I liken it to that thing in the movie industry called the suspension of disbelief. A moviegoer knows certain things are just not possible, but they suspend disbelief for the sake of the story. Certainly, many tales become far more interesting told from the point of view of a pet, so we play along.
Given that ordinary housecats and unassuming canines have managed to amass large numbers of fans on Facebook, I’d venture to guess that any pet owner with the desire and the time could achieve the same with their own furry friend. Until then, here is a look at some of the pets who are Facebook superstars.
Popular Cats on Facebook:
Cooper the Photographer Cat (88,560 fans) strolls the neighborhood wearing a cat-cam and returns with stunning photos.
Maru (51,300 fans) rocketed to stardom because of the adorable way he slides into boxes. I’m not positive, but I think Maru may have been the inspiration for the term “boxhab,” as in, a cat that needs rehab for its addiction to boxes.
Joey the Garden Cat (17,500 fans) is a once-feral kitty who made the THV Weather Garden in Little Rock, Arkansas his home and subsequently adopted the entire News staff and viewers as his family.
Luna the Fashion Kitty (11,500 fans) is a Himalayan/Persian with a large wardrobe. Luna is billed as “the ultimate top kitty model.”
Sockington (9,200 fans) aka Socks, is a witty feline who lives in Massachusetts. Though he doesn’t have a ginormous fan base on Facebook, Sockington is probably the most popular cat on Twitter.
Homer the Blind Wonder Cat (7,530 fans) has a bestselling book about what life is like as a blind cat.
Nora the Piano Playing Cat (4,065 fans) became a Celebricat as a result of her uncanny ability to tickle the ivories.
Popular Dogs on Facebook:
Boo: when I wrote about this impossibly cute Pomeranian less than a year ago, he had about one million Facebook fans. Now he has more than 4 million fans! Whoa. It’s highly unlikely Boo will ever be usurped as the most popular dog on the planet. But what I find especially interesting about Boo is that his popularity comes from just one thing: he’s cute. Unlike many other dogs and cats on Facebook who “work the crowd” to increase their popularity, Boo doesn’t even interact with his fans. I’ve never seen Boo respond to any of the gazillion posts on his page or answer any of their questions. In fact, I even emailed him a polite request for an interview last year and was completely ignored (sniff).
Beast (525,700 fans) is a Hungarian Puli owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Giant George (118,000 fans) is the World’s Tallest Dog according to Guinness.
Surf Dog Ricochet (100,000 fans) inspired millions with her touching YouTube video, and is now a successful canine fundraiser for various charities.
Stacey Mae (16,460) is a Greater Swiss Mountain Therapy Dog who started the Teddy Bear Project to collect stuffed animals for kids in hospitals and seniors in nursing homes.
Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog (5,000) was the first canine to help teach fire safety to children.
I’m sure there are tons more popular pets on Facebook. Who have I missed?
Cat photo by Paul Sapiano
Dog photo by Alan Levine
Read more articles by Julia Williams