Social Petworking: Maru the Cat and co are more than just fads

When parody accounts turn into more than just... well, parodies

‘Planking’ (that’s lying rigidly on various objects and buildings), ‘owling’ (similar, but think more perching than laying) and, more recently, the even more questionable ‘milking’ (yes, pouring milk over yourself, for those tempted to try it) are just some of the internet crazes that have littered our monitors this year.

Fads and phases are a dime a dozen on the web, but there's one fact that will always ring true - we really do love a cute pet, especially if it's moderately witty.

So it comes as no surprise that Social Petworking (social networking for your pets… obviously), is more than just any old internet fad. 

According to research (click for a very pretty infographic) by international animal welfare charity SPANA, Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad, one in 10 pets are now represented by a social media account – not bad, considering roughly one in seven humans have a Facebook account.

In fact, some pages create such a buzz that they continue to gain influence, even after they have stopped trending worldwide on Twitter.

Social Petworking erupted with Japanese moggy Maru, whose love affair with cardboard boxes have racked up over 175 million YouTube views since 2008.

Facebook recently revealed that 83 million of its billion users are fakes and up to 23 million of those are dedicated our pets.

Boo, dubbed the cutest dog in the world, has nearly 6 million “likes” on Facebook, while Beast, the pet dog of the social networking site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has just over 1.2 million – and both continue to rise daily.

Each of Boo’s photos, almost all of him in cute situations and outfits, are “liked” up to two hundred thousand times and Beast’s timeline is what can only be described as a blog depicting his daily rituals.

Boo is currently working on the promotion of his book (yes, a book) which features exclusive photographs of the Pomeranian “doing all his favourite things, lounging around, playing with friends, exploring the whole wide world, and making those famous puppy-dog eyes.”

On the microblogging side of the social media coin, Sockington, the pet cat of internet historian Jason Scott, currently has over 1.4 million Twitter followers. He remains one of the most followed Twitter accounts with his comical feline tweets.

Classic moggy comedy such as “You know that no matter how many times you clean it out, I’m coming back, right? #OccupyLitterbox,” and “I licked a squirrel and I liked it / I licked a squirrel just to try it / can’t tell if squirrel liked it,” is why Sockington is top cat on Twitter.

The mystery of why millions of people enjoy watching the status updates, tweets and videos of pets around the world, however, is hardly unsolvable.

I mean, who wouldn't want to follow a snake on the run (@BronxZoosCobra) who still finds time to tweet Samuel L Jackson, hoping they can "put that unfortunate plane incident” behind them?

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