When I first started ICM506, I wanted to write about web improvement. It was a practical choice at the time because it is what I do professionally, it is within my comfort zone, and it is safe. I still think that writing about web improvement is a lucrative venture, but as Professor Kalm pointed out, “there are a million people on the Web working on the Web and writing about the Web…What sets you apart?”
The question was fair. It pressed me to examine my own experiences and my passions.
In a time when sharing and accessing information has been made easy and commonplace through technology, I recognized that unique voices are more commonplace as well.
In an effort to more closely examine social media for another course, I had created an Instagram account for my 16-year-old dog. I wrote from his perspective. I thought I was so clever, but unbeknownst to me at the time, writing as your pet is a common practice on Instagram, and millions of people create their own pet accounts.
Again came the question: How could I stand apart from the millions of voices on the web?
As a senior dog owner, I knew that my experience of having a dog about to turn 17 was unique. I also noticed that the communities of puppy owners far surpass those with senior dogs. In my research I discovered that senior dogs are one of the most highly surrendered and under-adopted groups of dogs. I recognized this as a problem and thought about the ways in which I could possibly help.
As I researched, wrote, and rewrote within my new beat of senior dog advocacy and care, my persona of Old Paws came to fruition. Through Old Paws, I shared the challenges of having a senior dog and offered solutions. I examined why people most often prefer puppies, the issues of puppy mills, and the obstacles of senior dog care. My goal was to identify these issues as the underlying factors for why senior dogs are so underrepresented by society.
Beyond the course, I hope to continue to develop my voice and tie it into the voice I had created for my dog on Instagram. I want to expand my research on senior dog care and continue to raise awareness. I hope to be able to incorporate what I learn in the rest of the program into promoting this endeavor through a website and additional social media avenues such as Twitter. I may even pursue a partnership or role in a local rescue organization to help encourage the adoption of their senior dogs. I want to share my own experience, as well as tips and tricks to help welcoming a senior dog into your family a painless and rewarding experience.
This course has opened my eyes more on writing online. I learned that much of online writing is adapting to the outlets that people use to share and access information, such a social media. On the other hand, I learned that online writing is also about shattering cookie-cutter approaches to topics. By injecting my research with my own experiences on senior dog care, I can further add value to my voice.
Thanks for reading and remember, you can teach an old dog new tricks.