A quick search of #petsofinstagram yields over 12 million post results, most of which come from designated pages for our cuddly little friends. Everyone with a dog, cat, mini-pig, etc. has made an Instagram specifically for their animal in the past few years. I know you’re probably super proud of your “RockyPupGoldendoodle” account with 200 followers, but all these Petstagrams are exhausting and it needs to stop.
I just want to be clear and let you know I don’t hate animals. I have absolutely nothing against pictures of adorable dogs on my feed. There was definitely a time in my life when I followed a Cute Puppies Daily account on Twitter and it had some stellar posts. It’s not the photo concept I hate, it’s the method of delivery. Instead of sharing your snaps on your own page, you feel the need to exist on a separate platform where you can fake write in the first person. You’re the pageant moms of the pet world.
Everyone likes attention, even if they won’t admit it. Pet pages may seem like a selfless venture, but they are a complete representation of attention seeking. Sure, it’s a backdoor method, but it’s still a personal audience. I hate to break the news to everyone, but animals can’t reason like a human can. They’re not scrolling through a feed to see if they’re trending. In no way does having an online presence mean anything to them. You’re using your animal’s cuteness for personal gain, and that is one of the cruelest forms of exploitation. No matter what you say, that page isn’t for your “fur baby,” it’s 100% about you and the self-satisfaction that comes with the likes and follows.
The moral principles behind these accounts is questionable, but there are other issues as well. The photos you’re uploading: they’re shitty quality. It doesn’t matter if you’re swinging on iPhone 7 portrait mode, pets don’t stand still. I’m sick of seeing 20 blurry pictures in a row with no lighting, no artistic value, and no quality. If you have one of those sick Cannon or Nikon cameras, I’ll give you a pass on this one, but the rest of you posers are pushing out garbage. If you’re really set on building up your pet’s modeling portfolio, invest in something that doesn’t move so much. Maybe a lizard or a turtle. Just know there’s no way in hell anyone’s going to follow a lizard on Instagram.
The ‘gram was once a sanctuary away from the cluster now known as Facebook, but this pet phenomena has it heading down the same road. What was so refreshing about Instagram was the simplicity of the whole thing. I’m only following people I want to follow, my feed is only what they post (not what they’ve liked), the ads are minimal, it was once one picture per post, and the text is quippy and short. When your pets come into the mix, all that is out the window. I’m forced to suffer through 4 lines of hashtags, I see every insufferable 500 followers’ giveaway you’re running, and personal pages have become promos for your sister-in-law’s boyfriend’s pug’s account. It’s not Instagram kosher anymore. Soon, there will be an account for everything and the noise will be too much. Pets are only the tip of the iceberg.
I urge you to think before creating a pet page. Mull over what I’ve said, and ask yourself this important question: am I doing this just to jump on the social media bandwagon? Petstagram is trendy right now and it’s tempting to get on board. I know the allure. I’ve fallen trap to the 2008 colorful & long email signature trend, and the 2012 “Play Hard, Party Harder” closed Facebook groups trend. This is the same concept. Years from now you’re going to look back and regret being a lemming.
I know everyone thinks their pet is going to end up instafamous, but the chances are slim. Accept your fate. Keep it simple and just upload your champagne clink boomerang you made at brunch this weekend. It’s better for everyone this way.
With all this being said, go follow my rabbit on Instagram, @popcorn_the_bun. .
Image via Instagram