Point/Counterpoint: Dogs on Social Media

November 29, 2016

Greetings, readers. Welcome to Point/Counterpoint, a new ChatterBlast column where Blasters stop being polite and start getting real. Here, we’ll analyze and debate topics, trends and hot points of discussion in the world of social media. First up: Justin, a new dog owner, and Kyle, father of @BrendaTheShepsky, dissect the merits of creating and managing an Instagram account for your dog.

Justin: Kyle, I just want to point out that we’ve both got some amazingly photogenic dogs. High five.

Kyle: Agreed. And I think we can both as well agree on that fact that, no matter the outcome of this heated debate, the world wide web deserves photos of these dogs in one way or another. Let’s have at it.


Point: Branding


Point—Justin: I made the decision a while ago that I wouldn’t create work/personal social accounts. They’re a view into my life, so I wanted to show it in its totality. When I got Gideon, it was to augment my life in so many more ways than just social media. But obviously it adds a whole new element to my “brand,” whatever that is. And I want to show people what life is like now that I’m a doggo daddy.

I can see why people create new accounts for their pets, but it’s just not me. People don’t create new Instagram accounts when they have a new baby, do they? (Oh god, please don’t start doing this.)

Also, the rescue where I got Gideon started following me on Facebook the moment I adopted him. They like to use it as a way to keep tabs on rescues. I imagine that I could always get them to “like” Gideon’s page if I were to set it up, but that to me seems needlessly complex. However, I do acknowledge that is a uniquely weird situation.


Counterpoint—Kyle: Valid concerns. Allow me to counter using your baby example. There are few things more obnoxious than new parents flooding their social feeds with photos of their babies. The same thing for new dog owners. We get it. You baby/dog is cute. I’ll smash that mf’ing like button for both. But, at the same time, most of us aren’t on our personal accounts looking for a consistent flow of newborn content. There is, however, a huge sub-population of Instagram trying to look at your dog and having an Instagram page is like having a portfolio specific to doing just that.

I want to post pictures of Brenda to my own page every five minutes and her Instagram page doesn’t stop me from doing so every once in awhile. But it also allows me to fulfill that innate urge to go overboard with it, give the rabid online dog lovers what they want, and get all of those precious likes while at the same time maintaining my own balanced personal #brand.


Point: The “Likes”

Justin: That is a great point. My phone started quickly running out of memory the week I got Gideon. I think I take a photo of him every time he takes a nap. But I do make a conscious effort to curate my social feed so I’m not inundating followers with non-stop dog pics. Though I imagine some might actually like that.

To get straight to the heart of it, I’m selfish. I know how easily people “like” dog photos, so I want to capitalize on some of that with Gideon in my life. I didn’t get him just for the Likes, but it certainly helps.


Kyle: I can’t argue with that. Having a dog is like a cheat code for multiplying your engagement. Brenda gets more likes on her page than I do on my personal page. I’m not sure whether to be jealous or proud of myself for making it happen. Part of me just wants to see how far we can take it. Like this dog that has almost two million followers.


Point: Hard Work

Justin: I manage multiple client social media accounts for a living, I don’t want to do the same when I’m at home trying to relax with my doggo. I’d rather wait for the perfect moment of Gideon acting like a goof, share it, and watch the likes come pouring in.


Kyle: Being extremely online is not easy work. I’ll be the first to admit it. When most people are at home relaxing and spending time with their families, I’m thumb-deep in my iPhone digging through the best possible filters and hashtags, pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into crafting the perfect caption. But it’s all worth it. A couple of months ago, we were approached by doggy t-shirt company that made us an offer to collect commission on products sold through a unique link in Brenda’s bio. We didn’t follow through because we didn’t want to sell out too soon, but it’s only a matter of time before we hit it real big in the dog influencer game.

Also, it kind of gives me a good excuse to go outside on walks with my dog and camera and practice photography. So aside from fame and fortune, it’s kind of a hobby.


Wow. That got pretty heated. Convincing arguments from both owners on the issue at hand here. I know I’m split on the subject. Are you? There’s no reason why this debate shouldn’t spill into the comments. Let us know what you’re thinking on the practices of dog ‘gramming.