Social Media: Friend or Foe?

February 13, 2012

Collaboration and communication are essential for long-term success in the sport of dogs. Such networking is especially important for rare breeds, like Skye Terriers, where their very survival may be at stake.  In order to overcome the threats associated with shrinking gene pools, isolated breeding populations, and geography, many fanciers have turned to Facebook and other social networking sites to connect. But, all is not always peaceful on the internet superhighway.  Given this, I wonder—is Facebook our friend or foe?

No doubt, Facebook has fundamentally changed the way that Skye Terrier breeders and owners around the globe interact. While it was once virtually impossible to track show results, new litters, the progeny of potential stud dogs, and judges who are willing to put up our breed in the group and best in show ring, such information, for even obscure shows in the most remote parts of dogdom, is now instantly available.  

But, with this valuable information, also comes a slew of commentary—often from those who have never seen the dogs, met the people, read the pedigrees, shown under the judges, or owned and exhibited a  stand-out representative of our breed.  Yet, unless we ourselves know such information in the “real” world, it can be difficult to evaluate the credibility of such perspectives in our “virtual” community.
Conversations about the health and well-being of our breed can quickly degenerate into people naming names, accusing others of unethical breeding practices and suggesting that certain dogs may be carriers of undesirable genes.   

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