Do Virtual Gifts Have Value?
It's always nice to see Dogster and its members in the news. This weekend the Boston Globe had an article about virtual gifts in the online social networking world. You know virtual gifts; they're the balls, paws and chicken hats we all love to give to each other.
Joni Gleason of Haverhill spends about $100 a year on gifts for her pet-loving friends. But the gifts can't be held or wrapped. They can't even be seen unless her friends are online.
As a member of Dogster.com, Gleason, 62, sends fellow dog owners virtual candles and angel wings when their pets get sick or die. When Gleason feels playful, she sends virtual squirrels or, one of Dogster's newer gift options, a can of Spam.
It's an interesting read about the trend toward virtual gifts in the online world.
As you can imagine, some people don't necessarily agree they have any value at all. Ted Rheingold, Dogster's founder, responded to that argument by stating in the article:
"They may not be something you can hold in your hand, but the sentiment that comes with giving or receiving, is the same sentiment."
I agree. The point naysayers are missing is that social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared purpose.
In our case, it's the cute, lovable and nutty creatures that run our lives. Just because the gifts we give online don't have physical properties, doesn't change the feelings associated with giving and receiving them. What better way to know someone is thinking of you than receiving a Boo Boo Bandaid when your dog is ill? Isn't there value in that gesture? I think so.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I have a few SPAM hats to give away.