It's Day 3 of Ribsy and Mirabel's Walkout on Winter. Temperature update: -32 with the windchill tonight (-26 Fahrenheit). Interestingly, did you know that -40 is when Fahrenheit and Celsius intersect and refer to the exact same temperature?
So, another tool in the whippets' arsenal to cope with this bitterly cold weather? Twitter. Some folks Twitter a lot, some not so much. Ribsy is the lead whippet on the Twitter front; Mirabel prefers to suggest tweets (140 word updates that are at the heart of Twitter) that are solely about her, or watch Meerkat Manor.
And Ribsy's far from being the only dog on Twitter. There are a lot. And they're not filling the twairwaves with the usual woof woof, barky bark kind of updates. They're talking about current events (is Obama's dog going to be a Labradoodle or a Portugese Water Dog), health and safety issues (what are the effects of rawhide), to lighter topics such as fashion trends (where can I get stylish booties that won't make me a laughingstock) and confiding about personal hygiene techniques (how do you go to the bathroom when it's so doggone cold outside?).
Plus Twitterin' dogs are using it to spread important messages very quickly. You see, all you have to do is take some other dog's message and put two little letters: "RT" in front of it. That means Retweet in Twitter, Rebark in Canine. These are really useful for missing dog alerts. So move over, Twilight Express. Here comes the Twitter Xpress (X as being Xtreme, of course) - taking the canine communication system to a whole new park.
Ribsy's throughly enjoying the mix of canine news and life updates he gets from the dogs he follows. If you've thought about joining the Twitter pack, by all means do so! It's super easy to sign up for an account, look for other dogs (this list is a good start - thanks to @officedog), and start tweeting (twarking?).
By the way, Ribsy also recommends a few whippets (yay): @flicksummer, @anniethewhippet, @dawgstar, and @sknygrydg07 - there is also a growing pack of gorgeous greyhounds, plus hound folks and dog lovers in general. It's a huge off-leash zone waiting for you to explore.
So with that in mind, Ribsy would like to offer a few tips on how to be a good dog on Twitter:
1) Be open to other species. At first Ribsy had a no-cat rule. But what the heck, some cats can be pretty darn intelligent. As @officecat stated, "Decided to follow lots of dogs...all will like me but I like to keep friends close and enemies closer." Ribsy even follows a squirrel - talk about the barriers breaking down.
2) Go ahead and drool. There are rock stars in the dog world. Down boy. Don't expect a direct connection to the stars. @cesarmillan might not follow you back. Neither might @AnimalPlanet nor @snoopdogg. (@guykawasaki - woof out to Guy! - is pretty good at following you back though. So is @BarackObama if you want some Twitter dog cred.) On the upside, you may be the first to hear about their latest thoughts and not-so-news, no matter how trivial or insignificant they may seem. And isn't that what celebrity worship is all about? (Speaking of which, look at all the celebrites who Twitter!)
3) Take naps. No dog should deprive themselves of their 19-hour a day beauty sleep for the sake of Twitter. Download a client such as Twhirl or Tweetdeck to make sorting through all the messages easier.
4) Try not to whine when you lose followers. It's not the way your butt smells. Dogs follow and unfollow all the time. Recall the last time that you were at the park. When you first arrived, a lot of dogs were probably circling you, in your face, checking you out. After a while, they know what you're all about. And frankly, you're just not their running style. So they stopped paying attention to you. That's how it goes on Twitter.
5) Sniff out answers. If another dog is looking for help with issues on training their human, or for help on the best doggy Internet websites, throw them a helpful bone if you can. Dogs have to stick together, even on Twitter.
6) Be friendly. Try talking to other dogs you follow, by @ replying to them. It's like giving them a virtual tail wag to let them know you're listening, and as a fellow dog, you understand their plights about being left alone or getting shooed off the bed.
7) Don't bark incessantly. You hear about some major dog news from one of your followers. You decide to rebark (retweet) it your followers. Problem is, that news was like two hours ago. Which in Twitter time, means it's yesterday's discarded chew toy. Try doing a quick search or visit a site like Tweetmeme to see if's already been barked loud and clear over the Twittersphere. Also, if all you do is bark, bark, bark, then you're not really listening. And a big part of this whole Twitter thing is having conversations with other dogs online. Take the time to be thoughtful.
Ribsy's no expert on this Twitter, far from it. He's a newbie still getting his paws wet. So if you're a more dominant Twitterer, share some tips. And if you're not - there's no need to be submissive! Get off your back and sign up for a Twitter account. Every dog is equal...along with their person, favorite feline foe, and any other entity that happens to want to listen and be heard.