Funny Business with Jane Wells

Twitter, Opposable Thumbs Optional

Bertha Coombs, CNBC Reporter

A guest blog today from my colleague Bertha Coombs

I admit it, I thought Twitter jumped the shark when self-professed luddite Senator John McCain began doing it. I thought Twitter was for the birds and I that I'd never do it. I was wrong on both counts.

Seems Mattel is jumping on the twitter craze, upping the ante on the old adage, "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog" — the brilliant caption on Peter Steiner's 1993 cartoon for the New Yorker. The toy giant's latest toy will let your dog communicate via Twitter.

Puppy Tweet will be one of the new products Mattel features at next week's Toy Fair. The press release describes it as a dog tag connected to a USB receiver which "captures the dog's level of activity whether the dog's barking, sleeping or playing and translates it to a humorous or poignant tweet." The device is the product of Mattel's Radica electronic games division, acquired back in 2006.

One producer asked me, "How interesting could tweets from a dog be?" I dunno. In New York City, dogs wear coats when it's cold, shoes when it snows, and have spas that cater to them. Why shouldn't they tweet all about it?

Should we assume Paris Hilton's Chihuahua's tweets would be any more unprovocative than a socialite's musings? And what about Leona Helmsley's heir, the Maltese named Trouble? That pooch might have a bone to pick with the judge who reduced her $12 million inheritance.

On Twitter, People Follow You If You're a Dog

Turns out, there are plenty of twitter-critters already sharing their scratching, sniffing and napping news. Peabody, an English Mastiff in Arizona, known as @misterpeabodyhas about 1300 Twitter followers (way more than I do!) and among felines who tweet, @GingerbelleCathas about a thousand and follows nearly 1700 other animals, many of whom have blogs, as well.

Hmmm... I wonder whether they'd give me a Follow Friday shout out if I send them treats?

You can follow Bertha Coombs at

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email

Related Tags