Cute Pictures of Puppies and Kittens

Jeeves! Where the devil are my bath salts?

Every once in a while I see someone bemoaning the fact that nothing they do on their Facebook page gets any attention unless it’s a cute picture of a puppy or kitten.

You can put a lot of fanfare into a book announcement, post an opinion poll, ask for help with something, and all you get is the sound of chirping crickets. But post a picture of a cute little animal, and whammo – near instant virality.

I have a theory about this. It seems to me that the appeal of puppies and kittens cuts across the lines that otherwise divide people. Race, age, gender, and income level just don’t apply. You don’t have to live in a certain part of the planet, speak a certain language, do a particular thing for a living.

You gonna finish that?

The love of animals is a common bond among people. Even the grouchiest old curmudgeon you know may still smile when he reaches down to scratch a pup behind the ears.

Sure, some people like cats and some people like dogs, and some like both. Some few people like neither.

You did NOT just say that to me!

The vast majority of people seem to respond to cute photos of animals, and the pics of baby animals seem to touch a special cord. Perhaps it invites people to drop their shields for a moment. We are often more guarded with each other than with animals. Animals lack most of the despicable traits of humans.

I mean, your golden retriever is never going to spread nasty rumors about you. Your tabby isn’t going to pilfer your credit card to enjoy a spending spree on the home shopping network.

Why wait? Order an e-book!

It may be that I am way off base as to why people seem to come out of the woodwork when these pics get posted. Maybe it’s something completely different. I’m not sure the reason matters so very much. What really matters is knowing that it has an effect.

So, instead of wondering why people respond to pictures of cute animals, maybe you should be glad to know there is something that can evoke a response. If there is a way to raise interest, involvement, or participation, there is a way to reach an audience.

Try using that knowledge to incorporate your message. Tune in next week, when I will do a demonstration of how to embed hypno-codes in a picture to get people to do your evil bidding. Be sure to invite all your friends.

Author: Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and founder of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

26 thoughts on “Cute Pictures of Puppies and Kittens”

  1. I’m all for a few cat & dog pictures & even the cute memes. It’s when people post 20 in a row that I start getting aggravated. I limit my social media time & when I have to wade through 500 pictures to find 20 status updates I lose my patience. I then use FB hide pictures, videos, likes & comments features liberally. Now I don’t see people book covers or other things that are of interest to me but at least during my limited time online I can see what friends are up to.

    Very excited to learn how to embed hypno-code in the pictures I post. Can’t wait for that post Stephen.

    You do make some good points. I would add. Post pictures judiciously. One occasionally and not a bunch at a time. It has more impact.

    1. Just stare hard at the picture of the puppy in the mailbox, Tasha, and you will find yourself overcome with an irresistible desire to get my next book. 😉

  2. One of my kids is pestering me to put a cat in the next series anyway. I may have to resort to using kittens. And putting them on the covers. It’s a slippery slope…

  3. I am an animal lover and as compelling as cute pictures are, I usually leave Facebook after too many disturbing pics of animal abuse. It’s a stream of delight and shock that wears me out.

    That, and the never-ending flow of pin-up boys posted by middle-aged women with accompanying remarks which declare them to be a tad … optimistic.

    And I have to add that on a more business-like site like Linkedin, memes of kittens and puppies and people holding one or the other in front of them to represent themselves are a bit a turn off for connecting on a serious level.

    Unless you work for the SPCA or have written a book about a particular animal, keep the pets on Facebook, which (other than specific groups) is mostly a stream of narcissistic drek anyway. It’s only saving grace (for me) is the occasional thought-provoking scientific offering and quote, and a few humorous cartoons.

    As for deliberately using a cute animal to incorporate one’s promotional message. I really can’t imagine a picture of a kitten in a boot followed by a synopsis about vampires and murder (not what I write). Although I do remember the sensational and effective campaign that drew a lot of attention a few years back when a magazine cover showed the picture of a frightened dog with a gun held to its head with the caption something to the effect of: buy this magazine or else… Advertising is like a marble cake: dark chocolate with light sugary swirls with little nutritional value, but it’s life in the twenty-first century.

    Can you imagine Jane Austen pushing ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on Facebook? Her books (during her lifetime) didn’t even show her name, but had the title underneath which was written: a novel by a lady. Low profile or what?

    Her books sold with her remaining anonymous, and Jane’s brother only revealed her name after her death. Soon after that they dropped off the map for a long time until they were revived with a more dashing advertising plan.

    Great post as always Stephen

    1. Just think how much more successful her books would have been with the right titles: Pride and Prejudice and Puppies, and Sense and Sensibility and Kittens. 😉

  4. Speaking of pics. Could someone please let me know why my facebook pic has never shown up here. I don’t actually look like a bowling pin, so please let me know offline. I would be most grateful. I’m not deliberately being evasive; I’m just extremely low on the technical learning curve. Thanks.

  5. I clicked on the picture after staring a while but it didn’t take me to your book or Amazon page. Don’t you know if someone has to work to find your books they are less likely to buy? Tell me to stare at a puppy & I’ll want to buy your book should include link. Geez your falling apart around here.

    1. lol – Mr Pish is irresistible. All I need is some grandchildren to go with and then he can join that shelf full of teddy-…. Ahem.

  6. Guilty as charged. I’m one of those lurkers who can’t resist a small animal pic, for much the same reasons you’ve stated, oh Master. I’d suggest however, that our knee jerk reactions also have another purpose – perhaps we judge likable people according to their stance on animals? I mean, if someone posts a pic of a puppy I sort of assume he or she is going to be my kind of person. Not always an accurate assessment, but rarely completely wrong.

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