Are the internet giants Facebook and Wikipedia good or bad for the domestic cat? Facebook is the number 2 website in the world by visitor numbers (after Google) and Wikipedia is around number 6. They provide information about the cat in different ways.
Wikipedia is purely informational. It is meant to provide hard facts. I actually like Wikipedia and for the people criticize it for being inaccurate you should recognize that at least they do provide full references as to where the authors got their information from so you can check it and decide for yourself.
Facebook provides a platform for billions of exchanges of chatty cat talk between people. Within these exchanges are some pearls of wisdom and good factual information. Also, there are piles of cat rescue webpages that can only be good for the domestic cat.
On the face of it everything they do can only be good for the domestic cat. However, there is a downside. They dominate the internet on all forms of information no matter how it is delivered.
If you search for cat information – say about the cat breeds – Wikipedia is always at the top of page one of search results. 99% of people looking for information about cat breeds will read what Wikipedia says. I don’t think this is good because it is like always buying your groceries from a large supermarket out of town rather than one of the independent shops in town.
There is real value and worth in the small independent trader and the same situation can be said about the internet. All independent owners of cat websites are shut out on the cat breeds and also, for that matter, the wild cats.
Almost all chat about cats takes place on Facebook. This sucks the the energy out of small cat blogs and independent start-ups. Some of these are very high quality and deserve to be recognized. They deserve an audience and a good fan base but can they be seen amongst the billions of webpages which are dominated by Facebook?
It is as if Facebook is an internet within the internet. Look what big business – i.e. the banks and they are the biggest – did to the world 6 years ago. They totally messed it up with their greed. The wrecked the lives of millions of ordinary working people. We shouldn’t rely on big business.
There should be more room on the internet for the small website. The independent voice is important. There is danger in relying all the time on the big players such as Facebook – and they don’t get any bigger than Facebook – because they are hard-nosed businesses at heart. They present a different face but behind that veneer are the men in grey suits (or T-shirts in the case of Mark Zuckerberg). They can do what they like with all the information on their site and all decisions are based on profit. Sites like PoC are based on cat welfare not profit. What is better for the cat? Can you trust Facebook and is it too addictive?
Wikipedia is genuinely non-profit. They avoid placing adverts on their site and occasionally ask for money. However, we don’t know who the authors are (unless you dig around) and we don’t know how good they are. If they simply take information from the internet and rework it into their own words, what good is that? They are just collating webpages.
On sites such as PoC, we have real personalised experiences based on years of cat caretaking and enlightened informative comments. What is better?
Believe me, I am not griping or complaining. The internet is a competitive, business market-place. I accept that. I just feel that Google should place greater recognition on smaller cat informational websites. And I also feel that the big meg-sites should be curtailed a little bit to allow the smaller independents to breathe and grow.
Cat caretakers are known to be independently minded people. I believe they should express that characteristic in supporting the small cat websites, independently owned by an intelligent individuals who are truly concerned about cat welfare.