Dogs’ and Cats’ Best Friend? Not Facebook
In light of recent events on Facebook, I tried to compare the huge social medium to something (anything), and the best I could do was “a cross between Big Brother and a strange cult.” Big Brother because Facebook does a masterful job of collecting the personal information that we so willingly surrender, and strange cult because—among its other odd customer relations practices—Facebook “shuns” users that believe they have rights, or don’t drink its Kool-Aid.
Okay, Facebook is free and it’s not a public utility. Theoretically, Facebook doesn’t have much responsibility to its community of users; those who don’t like it can go elsewhere. Or nowhere. Things get sticky, though, when one considers the heroin-marketing techniques that Facebook employs. First, get people hooked, then change the rules. With heroin, get people hooked with free product, then when they’re addicted, bleed them dry with the cost of the product; with Facebook, get them addicted and then restrict use.
Facebook may not be as evil as heroin (may not be), but many of its users are “addicted,” and they cheerfully admit that fact. When I started using Facebook, I was pretty much addicted to games, but after about eighteen months I was faced with the choice of being productive or being a Yovillian/Farmvillian. Productivity won.
Facebook, however, has become a literal lifeline for people involved in rescue, particularly animal rescue. Every day, thousands of animals are posted and “shared,” animals that are on “death row” in so-called shelters, animals that have been abused, and animals that are advertised through classified ads, the internet, and Craigslist. Dogs and cats have been adopted across-country and saved by local rescues and private adopters who learned of them through Facebook postings.
Last summer, CeliaSue Hecht, in Have Dog Blog, Will Travel, reported that “numerous animal rescue/animals lovers and groups…have been accused erroneously by Facebook for posting spam and ‘irrelevant’ content and disabled for 15 days. We have been posting and cross posting about animals that need rescuing from shelters and owners trying to find new homes for these animals. This is NOT SPAM NOR IRRELEVANT!!! These postings have helped unite pets with owners and obtained NEW homes for pets and SAVED ANIMALS LIVES!!!” Penny Eims, in an examiner.com article titled “Facebook and the death of networking,” stated, “Lost dogs are found - death row dogs are saved - long term fosters are finding homes...networking saves lives. It is neither irrelevant nor ‘spam’.”Continued on the next page