Not so much a social butterfly, as a social (media) dog. I’ve been on Twitter since the end of 2014, when I became a trainee with Hampshire Search & Rescue Dogs.
Pretty much all the team dogs had Twitter accounts, so it was a natural progression to set up my own (or rather, get mum to do it).
I was @SearchDogWilson back then, and built up a steady number of followers until 2017 rolled around and mum withdrew me from the team – you can read more about that in this post.
I was going to keep the same Twitter handle, but then the idea for this blog formed in mum’s mind, and with it the need to find a more suitable name that could be used across WordPress, Twitter and Instagram.
She tried numerous variations but they were either too long, or not available across all three platforms. Then – et voila! – she had an epiphany and Woofs With Wilson was born.
I think she might have had a glass of bubbles to toast her brilliance. Or maybe before she even thought of the name.
She then set about the tortuous process of changing Twitter from @SearchDogWilson to @WoofsWithWilson, and doing the same for Instagram (which was a much more straightforward process).
Now, much is made of the pitfalls of social media and to some extent it’s true.
But I’m a dog and I don’t care about all that.
Twitter, and to a lesser extent Instagram, I love. I have a modest number of followers – around 2,500 on Twitter and a mere 300 or so in Insta – but at least we’ve not bought any of them, and it’s not all about numbers is it?
We have fun on the platforms though. Mum tweets on my behalf (obviously) and we’ve had some great little exchanges with folk (and dogs).
I think the trick is to keep it light – no unpleasantness, no trolling, no profanity (although mum is fond of the occasional swear word in real life, I admit).
In short – be more dog.
I tweet most days, even if it’s just commenting on someone else’s offering, retweeting or ‘liking’ something. I do like to share my general buffoonery on my own tweets, and I always include at least one photo or the occasional video.
I make an effort to acknowledge all comments, even if it’s just a ‘like’. I think it’s great when people interact with me, and my floppy ear and floofy tail are building up quite a fan club!
And of course, we were bowled over by the number of my followers who donated to my Sunrise to Sunset Walk in January. There were people mum had known for years who sponsored us the grand total of nothing, yet there were followers of mine on Twitter who gave most generously – to me, a dog!
Twitter, for us, is purely for fun and it’s not going to change the world, but a few moments each day tapping the iPhone keys is harmless I reckon.
We’ve had a more ambivalent relationship with Instagram. We simply cannot fathom the algorithm – use hashtags (but not too many or the wrong ones); post regularly (but not too often otherwise you might get shadowbanned); build a curated feed (good for your ‘brand’); blah blah blah.
We’ve been making more use of Stories in recent weeks – the selection of photos and videos you can view in a bar at the top of your feed. They disappear after 24 hours, which seeing as mum has taken to appearing in the occasional video, is no bad thing.
My followers had been hovering around two-hundred-and-ninety-something for about a year but in the few weeks since mum’s been putting more effort into Stories we’re now around 320(ish). Very small fry but at least heading in the right direction.
As for Facebook – not for me. Nor Snapchat. Mum joined Vero a few months ago but that really is a mystery so she’s left it well alone. As for YouTube – that’s beyond mum’s techie capabilities. Besides, it can all start to take up too much time, can’t it?
So, big thanks to anyone who follows me on Twitter and Instagram – if you don’t, just search for ‘Woofs With Wilson’ and I’ll be there, or click on the icons on my homepage.
Come and join in!