Has social media gone to the dogs (and cats) – literally? Before we scoff at this or say it is just some adorable fascination of humans to show us their beloved pets, consider the thesis from Michael Pollan’s book, “The Botany of Desire.” He posits that like the birds and the bees, humans are servants to plants, and not the other way around. We sow, prune, pollinate, protect, weed, water, even wack at – and yes even adore plants. What’s to say the human hubris of believing that we are in “charge of” other things – like say our pets – is not equally fallacious?
And so one must keep an open mind when considering the sheer volume of dog and cat videos online now and their incredible popularity via social media worldwide. The most popular You Tube video of 2014 was an adorable black dog dressed up like a scary spider for a bit horror film spoof. (Mutant Ninja Spider Dog) The scary spider scurried around in the night terrifying unsuspecting humans! A station is ornamented with human body parts wrapped in spider silk! People are sent running! The music is ominous! It has that creepy, low-budget, sci-fi feel to it. Ok so it’s entertaining as thriller wannabees go – but it becomes enchanting when the star of the film is revealed at the end to be an adorable, friendly-faced black dog who seems to love everyone and doesn’t mind being dressed in a spider outfit. Take that Spiderman! This video garnered more than 113 million views.
My personal favorite marketing YouTube video is undoubtedly “Dear Kitten” by Buzz Feed and Friskies. Anyone who has had cats (or the other way around) becomes mesmerized by their sometimes weird, seemingly stoned behavior. They are at once elegant and silly, amazing athletes and lazy bums. Who can tell what’s really going on in their minds? (the closest thing to understanding felines come from the video An Engineer’s Guide to cats, 6.76 million views).
Ben Huh of the Cheezburger Network says that cats rule the Internet. Why is that? Well, kids grow up and stop being cute for one thing. Plus he says generations of cat lovers have literally bred them to be adorable. “We have created weapons of mass cuteness,” Huh said. “We’ve been doing it for 10,000 years and everybody’s surprised: ‘Oh my god I can’t believe we love cats!’ We biologically engineer them to be the object of our affections.”
Yes the cats fascinate us, but we also seek out those animals who are just downright funny. They have a special place in the hearts of Google users everywhere – especially Australia which pops up highest on the funny dog/cat search trend list for 2014. Who is the Louis CK of the animal kingdom, the Chris Rock of Cats, the Daniel Tosh of Dogs? Hmm. Well, humor is in the eye of the beholder so you have to check that out for yourself.
While cats and comedic pets of all types are everywhere on the Internet, dogs are still number one. We search them out to see them playing with babies, making friends with goats, being athletic and heroic. If you want to hear your heartstring loud and clear, watch a dog video! Just see this wickedly clever Budweiser commercial to know what love is:
How is it possible that domesticated animals are dominating the Internet? (See Google trend chart here) The only explanation can be that they are much more devious and wiley than we originally thought. We serve them at every turn from feeding and grooming them, buying them toys and trinkets, taking them on trips and providing them with play dates! That we love our pets is evident in our adoration and documentation of them on the Internet – a representation of the place they hold on our hearths and in hearts around the globe.