Social Media and the Animal Kingdom

I’m putting the finishing touches on Monday’s lecture notes when the dog comes into the library, looking concerned.

“Shouldn’t I be doing something to promote the book?” she asks.

“Since it won’t be out for another nine months, I don’t think it’s that urgent.”

“But aren’t there more Internetty things I could be doing?”

“Well, you make regular appearances on the blog, and you’ve got plenty of friends on Facebook. I suppose you could Twitter.”

She draws herself up very haughtily. “I am a dog. I do not twitter.”

“Beg pardon?”

“I’m not some stupid bird, fluttering around twittering all the time.” She tilts her head in the way that indicates sarcasm in Dog, and begins imitating birds “‘I’m looking for birdseed!’ ‘I’m looking for birdseed!’ ‘I found birdseed!’ ‘I’m looking for birdseed!’ ‘I’m looking for birdseed!'” She glares at me. “I have much more dignity than that.”

“OK, you’re misunderstanding me. I don’t mean that you should twitter like a bird. I mean Twitter with a capital T. It’s an Internet service that’s all the rage at the moment.”

“Oh. Well, what does it do?”

“Well, you can use it to send short messages to all your friends, and to read short messages that they send. The messages limited to 140 characters, and people use it to update each other about what they’re doing right at the moment.”

“And this is different from the bird thing, how?”

“Well,… Ummm…. There’s typing involved?”

“My point, exactly.” She moves her paws in a sarcastic imitation of typing, “‘I’m looking for birdseed!’ ‘I’m typing about looking for birdseed!’ ‘I’m typing about typing about looking for birdseed!'”

“You’re probably right. Twitter’s not for you.”

“Exactly. I don’t have time to read the twitterings of a bunch of stupid eepy birds. I am an important dog, and I have important things to do.”

“Well, I think you’ve more or less exhausted all the other services you could use to promote the book. If you’re not interested in Twitter, then there’s nothing else you need to do.”

“OK,” she says, tail wagging. “In that case, I’ll be playing poker on Facebook.”