It was after I followed @Sockington that I realized Schwartz should have his own Twitter account. In case you don’t know, @Sockington is a gray and white cat on Twitter with just under a million and a half followers. Lately, he seems to tweet about once a day, and I’ve never heard him offer up anything that wasn’t 100% cat. I’ve never found him laugh-out-loud-funny, but he is what I would call cat-droll; he tweets about cat things like naps and snacks, and uncomfortable changes to routine, and terrors like the vacuum cleaner. Eschewing punctuation, @Sockington resorts instead to an alternating lowercase/ALL CAPS also employed by other funny pets on Twitter, like the deranged urination fountain know as @Frankie_Wah.
@Frankie_Wah is incredibly clever with language, occasionally creating spit-out-your-coffee moments for a casual Twitter feed reader. He is a fully-fleshed out knucklehead of a feisty little dog, both terrified and aggressive, with a weakness for marking things with a little squirt of dog piss.
If you go on Twitter and look, you can easily figure out that @Frankie_Wah’s ghost-writing owner is fantasy and science fiction author Tad Williams, and that @Sockington is the brain-child of Jason Scott. You will also discover that @Sockington’s followers are collectively known as Socks Army, and that Scott uses his renown to raise a lot of money for animal charities on Socks’ website.
There are a whole lot of cats on Twitter. Of course I know that they are people, but they are not tweeting as themselves, they tweet as their cats. Schwartz only follows animals, and most are cats and dogs. There is a young elephant in the Taronga Zoo in Australia that tweets as @MisterShuffles . There is an atheist tortoise in the UK called @Flo_Tortoise. There are some stuffed rabbits, like @theBaxterBunny and @ZackRabbit, and some stuffed bears, @thisBear and @TheBackpackBear, and some effusive Norwegian rubber finger puppets tweeting as @Happpiii.
If you hit “Browse Interests” on Twitter, you will see their list of categories: Art & Design, Books, Business, Charity, Entertainment, Family, Fashion, Food & Drink, Funny, Government, Health, Music, News, Science, Sports, Staff Picks, Technology, Travel, Twitter. No pets. I have tried for several months to get someone at Twitter to answer questions about how they define themselves as a social network platform, but have only so far been rebuffed with automatically generated emails.
Conventional media sources all dutifully refer to Twitter as a “micro-blogging site.” The persistence of the use of this term tells me that Twitter does have some sort of PR department. I would argue, though, that Twitter is more of a massive, multi-player game. The point of the game is to gain as many followers as possible. One of the great things about the pets on Twitter is that if you are a pet and you follow them, they will follow you back.
Someday I will write about the #wlf, the Twitterati, some funny bots, dreadful misuses of Twitter, and what happens if you mention Ayn Rand.