Guest Post by Carol Bryant
Here are a few items your dog wishes you knew about social media before you jump into it:
- Twitter isn’t a tree, so don’t pee on it; Sure, it’s fast moving, but like any interaction in a pack, what you say does leave a mark. Long after the leg’s been lifted, the tweet’s been put out into the Twitterverse, others will know you’ve been there.
- Live in the moment but realize the consequences: Ever catch Sparky in the act of doing something and let out a “no, no” or as Victoria Stillwell would say, “ah ah” to interrupt a behavior like chewing the shoe or the couch? Think “ah ah”before you post; know there are consequences. Tis’ true, companies are indeed monitoring what you are saying.
- Take thee for a digital-free walk: Many of us work from a virtual office, a telecommute, a sanctity of in our own abode. Working from home does not equate with never leaving the home. Get out, explore the outdoors, take the dog on a walk and leave the digital leash behind.
Go and visit the Shepherd, Collie or Poodle a few streets over: Some of the best business (and social) relationships I’ve formed came from attending expos, conferences, events, trade shows, et al. I know, the economy makes it hard to pay for them all. So don’t. Attend the ones that are feasible, see if a local dog group has a meet-up. I’ve given more business cards out waiting at the groomer than sitting alone in my office. Not everyone in a social circle needs to be a blogger, and the world is a big place full of many mutt-igrees. Go forth and sniff them out.
Scent lives on in social media: Ever pull up in front of the vet and the dog suddenly slithers down in his car seat? Wonder how Rover remembered that one visit to the groomer when he was skunked? Social media remembers, too. Sometimes it’s the unspoken nuances that are remembered, those nonverbal or ignored comments on Facebook that speak volumes. Proceed cautiously with sudden “if I go a different route you won’t notice.” People notice. Be tactful.
Sometimes a wag is just a wag: Notice how a dog greets other dogs on a walk, perhaps two canines sharing the same street, an exchanged glance, a wag to nod approval and then a moving forward. One dog may have just “friended” another. They will co-exist, but their destiny is to be shared with glances and wags from across a tree-laden street. This is “friending” aka the “LIKE” button on Facebook. Don’t take it personally if suddenly someone does not follow your wall or streams anymore. There’s plenty of fish in the sea and plenty of dogs on the block. Friend has a whole new meaning these days. Don’t take it personally.
Hiding the treat doesn’t make it disappear: My office supplies and dog treats are housed in the same hall closet in my house. Cute, but big mistake of sorts. I open the closet for printer paper and my curious canine is at my feet faster than a Kardashian to a camera. I can’t pretend not to give him something. I show him the paper. It’s just not a treat. Don’t put all the good stuff out there at once. Space your presence out online. If you blog, share often but in kibble-sized portions and when promising something big is coming, deliver.
Be in one place a a time and enjoy the moment: Cook a steak. Give your dog his or her favorite toy in a separate room. Place the dog’s favorite treats in yet another room. See which room Spot picks and he’ll scurry from room to room to try and get a bit of it all. He can’t do it all at once and neither can we as humans. So many social media networks and so little time. Pick a few and be the best at them. Tap into the smaller ones and explore the fit for your needs and interests. No need to be the best everywhere, all times, every network and not start to feel the tidal wave of stress envelop you. Be like the dog and pick one, enjoy it, and move forward.
Be the best at you are where you are. With so many social media option, pick your playground(s) wisely, be open to new training methods and live in the real world in real time, canine by your side. Your dog would want it that way.
About the author: Carol Bryant has traveled with dogs for over 15 years and is touted as a dog product and travel expert. A frequent media contributor, Carol has appeared on Animal Radio and Oprah Radio’s Gayle King Show, WBAL-TV, News12CT, and as a guest speaker at conferences and seminars about social media, writing, dogs and dog travel. She is also a two-time nominee from the Dog Writers Association of America. Visit her blog at www.fidoseofreality.com and the FIDO Friendly magazine blog at www.fidofriendly.com/blog, winner of the Best Dog Blog from Dogtime Media.