blog header image

Animal Attractions

Dennis Nobile

December 9, 2014
Dennis Nobile

Has there ever been a more welcoming home for animals than social media? It’s a magic kingdom of grumpy cats, yodeling dogs, percussive turtles and balletic spiders. Yet, our delight in the joy that animals bring is bound to a gut level angst for their pain. Beyond the cute and cuddly, you’ll find a global platform of animal activism and awareness.

Spend quality time with the great apes, courtesy of Jane Goodall. Soar among the Alps through the eyes of an eagle-cam. Cheer the apprehension of a NYC low life who posted his kicking a cat on Facebook.

Or, consider the impact of the documentary “Blackfish.” A scathing indictment of the incarceration of Orca whales for human entertainment, the film is expertly crafted, unapologetically partisan, and profoundly heartbreaking.

The thing is, very few people actually saw “Blackfish.” But through Facebook, Twitter and a very savvy social media and networking campaign, millions of people got the message, or, enough of it to make the plight of captive Orcas a worldwide cause.

Facing boycotts, lawsuits and calls for increased regulation, the high profile, family friendly institution Sea World was plunged into a no-win cycle of damage control and brand resuscitation.

To be sure, Sea World remains open and profitable. But for social movements, progress is often measured in small, solid increments. Many a consumer will think twice before making it their vacation destination.

Activists of any stripe should take heart, and notes, on how the deft use of social media enabled a small film to make a big splash.

And that guy who kicked the cat on Facebook? He was ID’d, prosecuted, and faces jail time. King, the feline who survived the assault, found a loving home in Manhattan and is said to be thoroughly enjoying the last laugh.