Friday, 26 April 2013

You Down with OPP?

Despite a career in tech I'm a massive laggard when it comes to all things computing. It wasn't until 2011 that I joined facebook and predictably it is now one of my favourite things for keeping in touch with friends and family that time or distance prevent me from spending as much time with as I'd like to.  Scratch that, it's probably my favourite way of keeping in touch with almost everyone apart from a good face to face chat.  Preferably with wine involved (and there's plenty of that on facebook - by 5pm on a Friday every status I see involves having, or wishing to have a drink).

I knew on joining facebook there would be friends that post their every waking moment, those that dip in and out and those that are rarely there.  They might not be there at the same time or for the same reason but the thing they all do is post photos. Endless photos.  Photos of birthdays, holidays, 'we went to the park' days.  They document christenings, Christmas, 'christ I was a drunk-mess'.  The ability to share so much of your life with so many people without looking like a crazy-lady showing off the family album at a bus-stop (even if it isn't too far removed) is a most tantalising thing.

What I hadn't anticipated was to be on facebook you have to be ok with 'Other People's Pets' (you see, not the OPP you might have been thinking of you naughties!)  The amount of pet-based posting that goes on stunned me initially.  There's reams of it.  Streams of it.  Pages and pages dedicated to it.  There isn't a moment when my timeline doesn't have a photo or comment about someone's puppy or kitten.  And if it isn't their own they're posting a link to a photo or video of an animal that has amused them.  At this very moment I can see an image of Robert Downey Jnr's head on a cat's body...  Unexpected, and of 'niche' appeal but it's there and I have seen it.  And now, so can you.

Some friends profile pictures have morphed into pictures of their pets and in one instance my friend's pet has her own page.  Her own page AND 31 FRIENDS!  If ever proof were needed that the British are soft about animals this is a classic case in point and I rather like it.  But I did feel a bit left out.

We had come to the conclusion that we would be a 'pet free' family after being scarred by the experience of a cat that made regular and vigourous dirty protests after our children were born (turns out she was more of a 'prefers to be fussed by a kindly old lady' than 'kept awake / on high alert by children' feline).  Our village has more puppies than pushchairs so whether I am at the school gate or on-line I am never more than a minute away from a loopy Labrador or a charming King Charles but we resolved to stay firm, our house is not ready for a pup that will eat its way through our furniture.  Even if they do look at you with adoring eyes or give you a level of obedience that your children never will we are not getting a dog.  Yet.  

But we have caved, just a little bit.  Because children don't forget when you make them a promise years before that you will bring something small and fluffy into the house for them to love.  So now a corner of our garden is given over to four very funny, slightly naughty, fabulous egg producing hens.  Within the space of two hours I had gone from 'meh' to 'mine' and.....posted their picture on facebook.  

As unimportant as it no doubt is, there are times when it feels vital to observe an animal to improve the quality of your day.  I hope I can now return the favour to my friends who have lifted my spirits with pictures of their furry-faced companions.  Even if they do have Robert Downey Jnr's face superimposed on them......

PS:  If you're interested to know quite how important animals are to the Internet age, might I suggest you watch this video

Soundtrack: O.P.P. - Naughty by Nature - definitely not about pets.


  1. Nice to see the RatherGood reference, Toni ;-)

    1. And thank you for bringing them to my attention :) I learned more about the Internet from that video than anything else I have read or seen (except perhaps for Simon & Trevor's explanation that the Internet is manned by a 'Pixie Mini-Cab Service').