The other day I found something extremely cool hidden in plain view on Facebook, something that may spell more gloom for online newspaper classifieds, and which might even take a chunk out of eBay and Craigslist.
I found myself in possession of two extra puppies, thanks so some lout who dumped them in our yard during a thunderstorm.
We brought the 6-week-old girls in, dried them out, bought them a bag of designer puppy food and then began recycling newspapers the old fashioned way, in the bottom of a dog crate.
They were cute as all get out (think puppy breath!), and they looked right at home sitting on the front of the NYTimes’ Sunday Styles section.
(So that’s why we still subscribe to the dead tree edition!)
But we couldn’t keep them, because we already have two dogs and a cat. So we needed to find them new homes. I used the occasion to shoot my first video with our Canon PowerShot and then tried out iMovie to make my first very amateur (read: atrocious) video for the puppies’ debut on YouTube.
Hedging our bets, we put a color poster of the adorable duo — nicknamed Mocha and Latte — in the local Starbucks, in a shameless solicitation for new owners.
But what worked was Facebook. I put up an ad, and included a link to the girls’ first slideshow.
My brother’s best friend, Mary Giovannini, who runs the Website of the Haines, Alaska animal shelter, cautioned me immediately about giving puppies away for free, fearing they would be scooped up by someone who would then sell them to an animal testing lab.
But because of Facebook, I could give the puppies to someone who, while I didn’t know them personally, came with a profile and a resume and references of sorts. Each of the people who were interested in the puppies opened their profile to me so I could get a sense of who they were. At the same time, they could see who I am — a journalist and a professor, with friends from here to kingdom come who will track you down if you so much as harm a hair on those puppies’ heads!
Less than 48 hours after the ad went up, Hillary came by our house and got the latte-colored, smaller pup, whose name is now Daisy.
When Brittany sent me a message the next day about the pups, I replied that there was one left. Thanks to a prompt from Facebook, I was able to add my answer “to the FAQ” on the ad. Nice! how many times have we told people looking at our Craigslist ad that we really did mean that the motorcyle does not run … really! I would love to be able to automatically append my answers on Craigslist as an FAQ, what a timesaver!
That night, Brittany and her mom came by, and they took the little cutie whose name is now Peanut.
Now both young women are sending me messages in Facebook with updates on Daisy and Peanut. And they’re sending me puppy pictures! I could never do that through the newspaper classifieds — or Craigslist, or eBay.
Facebook gets something that is really, really important: When I know who someone is, I feel a whole lot better, whether it is sharing content or a “business” transaction, like finding a new home for two very lucky puppies.