Dog on Roof: How Social Networking Has Changed The Speed of News and Information

Dog on RoofIt wasn’t a call I get every day.  Last week, my nanny called to say that two neighbors had knocked on our door to report that there was a dog on our roof. Yes, a dog, not a cat.  And since it was pouring rain, she wondered if I could come home and help out the poor dog.

The first thing I did was call my husband to see if he could deal with the dog on the roof.  The second thing I did was tweet about the dog on the roof. The third thing I did was contact a few neighbors to try and figure out who the dog might belong to.  By the time I figured out which neighbor had left his 4th floor balcony door open, Maki had coaxed the dog (his name is Kerbie) down from the roof, brought him into our house and dried him off.  Within an hour, dog and owner were reunited.  I duly tweeted the happy news to my Twitter followers.

Why does this dog on roof story matter? It matters because:

  • My dog on roof story became news to my community – my staff, my neighbors and my online network.  Within minutes of tweeting about the dog on my roof, I got tons of tweets about said dog on roof.
  • Kerbie’s story reached hundreds of people within minutes. Remember the plane crash in the Hudson?  Janis Krums posted the first photo of the crash on Twitter.  Within minutes and hours, the news was all over Twitter and the blogs.  By the time the 6 o’clock news covered the story, it felt like ancient news.
  • I bet that if I had asked for help, I would have received a dozen offers within minutes. People would have tweeted and retweeted until I got the right resource to solve my problem.


Whether or not social networking floats your boat or makes you crazy, I believe it’s forever changed how we get our news, the speed with which we receive news, and how we filter information.

How about you?  Have any dog on roof stories to share?  What’s been your experience with this so-called transmission effect?

3 thoughts on “Dog on Roof: How Social Networking Has Changed The Speed of News and Information

  1. This is a classic “Man Bites Dog” story — if it had been a cat, ho hum (to everyone but the cat owner, of course).

    But quirky story, with photos + social network = awesomeness!

  2. It’s true, it’s true!

    When in your office that day Joanna, it was comical (if not a little pensive as we all want Kerbie to be safe!) to observe the whole response unfold. It’s interesting though what you ask about a ‘dog on roof’ moment. There are different ways communities can take shape and take action; and Twitter can be a strong place to form a feedback community. During presentations sometimes, in hopes to demonstrate how Twitter works, I’ve sought immediate ideas from those in my Twitter feed to then show attendees in real time. And whammo – Twitter responses would emerge promptly. It’s like have idea partners and collaborators on a bat phone…

    Glad Kirby’s “zall good.”

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