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JoAnna Lou
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Finding Adopters on Facebook
Is there a balance between exposure and spam?

I remember when Petfinder revolutionized the way adoptable animals found potential homes. A dog who might only be seen by a few visitors passing through the local shelter could now be seen online by hundreds of people.

Facebook has taken this exposure to a new level. Now homeless animals can be seen by people who aren't even looking for a new pet. Photos and descriptions are easily shared with thousands of people in a matter of seconds.

The City of Hartford Animal Shelter, one of Connecticut’s largest kill shelters, credits Facebook with saving countless pets each month. It's not uncommon for several months to go by without having to euthanize any dogs.

Last year, many rescue groups and shelters had their Facebook accounts suspended after being targeted by an automated anti-spam filter. Facebook has since reversed the glitch, but it highlighted the frequency and repetitive nature of these type of posts.

In addition to the shelters and rescue groups I follow, I have a lot of friends who post about dogs and other pets looking for homes. And there are certainly a lot. Even I admit that I sometimes glaze over the numerous postings on Facebook. However, I realize that this awareness is necessary for finding homes and I know many people who have found their new furry family members through these updates.

Are there too many adoption posts on Facebook? Do we just need to be more creative with how we use the social networking tool?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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