My dog Ribsy is on Twitter. He’s far from being the only one. Take a look at this list. Or this one. Or that one. Just like many of their human counterparts, dogs spend their days tweeting about the mundane (are they home yet?), but they also take it further. They talk about current events (is President Obama’s dog going to be a Labradoodle or a Portugese Water Dog), health issues (what’s that in my poop), to lighter topics such as fashion (lovin’ my new collar) and personal hygiene techniques (licks before kisses?).
Twitter is a huge off-leash zone your dog will be drooling to explore. But like any real-life park, manners count. So with that in mind, Ribsy has compiled some tips on how to be a good dog on Twitter.
1. Be open to other species. At first Ribsy had a no-cat rule. But what the heck, some cats can be pretty darn intelligent. As @officecat stated, “Decided to follow lots of dogs…I like to keep friends close and enemies closer.” Ribsy also follows horses, rodents, and of course, humans. Diversify your list and you’ll be rewarded with a richer, more fascinating feed of tweets in return.
2. Don’t bark incessantly. A sure way to turn off your followers is to bark, bark, bark about the same old thing. Your person may want you to push his or her product, or you may have a new blog post. We get it. After about the 10th tweet in a day about it, we get tired of hearing about it.
3. Dig for answers. If another dog is looking for help with issues on training their human, throw them a bone if you can. Or if you find a useful canine article, post the link. Being helpful and listening to other dogs is a sure way to engage, raise your profile, and increase your number of followers.
4. Wag your tail. Try talking to other dogs you follow, by @ replying to them. Let them know you sympathize their plights about being left alone or getting shooed off the bed. However, if you find yourself constantly going back and forth over Twitter, move it to a different venue, such as direct messaging or email.
5. It’s ok to drool. Besides the everyday dogs on Twitter, there are the rock stars. Down boy. @cesarmillan might not follow you back. Neither might @snoopdogg. What’s neat about their presence on Twitter is that you may be first to hear their latest thoughts or find out an interesting bit of news. And isn’t that what celebrity worship is all about? Have fun. A bit of guilty pleasuring doesn’t hurt any dog.
6. Try not to whine when you lose followers. It’s not the way your butt smells. Dogs follow and unfollow all the time. Recall the last time that you were at the park. When you first arrived, a lot of dogs were probably circling you, in your face, checking you out. After a while, they knew what you were all about. And frankly, you’re just not their running style. So they stopped paying attention to you. That’s just how it goes on Twitter.
7. Take naps. No dog should deprive themselves of their 19-hour a day beauty sleep for the sake of Twitter. Download a client such as Twhirl or Tweetdeck to make sorting through all your tweets easier.
8. Be yourself. You’re a dog. You live in the moment. So don’t overanalyze your words. Just tweet and be yourself. Tell the world about you, in an honest way (don’t forget to fill out your bio, or provide a link to your blog or website), and you’ll start finding dogs (and people, and whatever other species are out there) who will sniff you back with interest.
Ribsy’s still getting his paws wet on Twitter. If you’re more dominant, please share your tips. And if you’re not, there’s no need to be submissive. Get off your back and tweet (twark?). Every dog can have its Twitter day.