The Weekly Round-Up: Pets get networking and why we can't switch off on holiday

There's a reason they call it the silly season...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

There's a reason they call it the silly season...

They used to say that on the internet nobody knows you are a dog.

Now everyone knows you are a dog, is totally cool with it, and cheerfully retweets your hilarious story about what that obnoxious pooch from number 65 said when you saw her on the way to the vet. This we call progress, apparently.


Bubbles finally had enough of Facebook and decided to jump ship to Google+Photo: Shutterstock

Gone are the days when a juicy bone was reward enough for man's best friend - pet owners are now creating Facebook and Twitter profiles for their furry companions.

According to a survey by John Lewis Pet Insurance, one in six hilarious, archly postmodern 25- to 34-year-olds has given their hound or moggy an online profile, and one in 10 pet owners in the South East has made sure their furry friends are now self-facilitating media nodes.

Fortunately, some sanity seems to prevail north of the border, where only one per cent of Scots have succumbed to giving Tiddles a social media debut.

To be honest, this is all sounding a little bizarre - one of those stories that illustrate our slide into digital idiocy. Then again, maybe it's just a larf, the 21st-century version of that bit on That's Life where the dog says "sausages". Either way, the Round-Up still finds this all deeply, deeply disturbing.

And unless your furry friend is an actual celebrity, who really cares what you think they think? And even if people do care, how can you be sure you are translating correctly?

For when you tweet from Jasper the cat's account saying, "I love my mistress because she brings me a lovely dinner", you might be disappointed to find out Jasper is really thinking, "Why have you brought me tuna again? I demand the finest quality salmon."

Talking of fish, there are plenty of goldfish on Facebook - favourite book: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, favourite film: Finding Nemo, activities and interests: swimming, staring and forgetting.

If you're looking for a metaphor for the madness of our every increasing reliance on social media, a goldfish posting on Facebook is a pretty good one.

Social networks a no-no at work

Given this general descent into stupidity it's perhaps unsurprising that two-thirds of UK workers think social networking sites should be banned in the office.

The other third were presumably too busy to respond to the pollsters because they were updating Ginger's Facebook status to "coughing up a hairball".

Some new research by reed.co.uk revealed that a forward-thinking 28 per cent of businesses have banned employees from browsing social networking sites during work hours, while 40 per cent offer limited access.

That compares to a crazy 35 per cent of firms that have the anything-goes, let-your-hair-down attitude of giving employees full access to the internet, which frankly will only end in tears and regular updates from Fido the dog.

The survey of 4,245 workers across the UK revealed that on average one in three employees access Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking sites while at work.

Which probably means the two-thirds who want social media banned are...

...simply techno-clueless misanthropes jealous of their colleagues' social networking success.

The research found that IT workers are among those most likely to fool around with social media when they ought to be working instead, with 43 per cent admitting to such digital loafing - beaten only by the marketing bods.

Anyway, the social media genie is out of the bottle - or the goldfish is out of the bowl, depending on your outlook - because even if you ban access from office desktops, it won't do you any good: two out of three employees are now using their mobiles to update their status instead.

Of course, if you are a goldfish looking to make friends, then don't forget you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Come and say hi! And you can download our iPhone app too.

Time to switch off

Still, at least when you get off on holiday you can forget all about this stupid work stuff, right?

Not so fast! Three-quarters of office workers will be checking their email while on holiday this year, with over half remaining in contact with the office every day. Bah.

Still, at least the boss has the worst of it, with four out of five admitting they remain in touch with the office throughout their holiday.

Office at the beach

Planning your summer holiday? Consider going somewhere without mobile coveragePhoto: Shutterstock

Four out of 10 workers take mobile devices with them on holiday for work purposes - which no doubt makes it especially galling when those handsets get dunked in the pool and start to work less than their owners, while six out of 10 expect their employers to contact them while they are away, according to the cheering research by Origin Storage.

In which case, perhaps consider going on holiday somewhere without any mobile coverage - the Moon, the bottom of the sea, or the bit of south London where the Round-Up lives.

Then again, maybe that's no escape, as the research quotes one City PA from Harpenden as saying: "I was even called off the beach by the hotel reception because my mobile was not picking up signal, so my boss called the hotel directly." If you've got better ideas for how to escape the clutches of the office when on holiday, let us know.

Elsewhere on silicon.com this week: the iPad's been around for a long time now but why have Apple's competitors failed to come up with a rival product that can lure the public away? Read this column for a few ideas on where other kit makers have been going wrong and what they need to do to get us to take their tablets.

Also - want to see inside a datacentre? This one's even got mantraps.

And which is more interesting - Google+ or Twitter? Click the link to find out.

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