Self-isolation and internet cats

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Maybe you have noticed that lately, your feed has more cats than before. Or, maybe you thought that this is just because you entered a new era of the self-isolated infinite scroll. 

Well, a mixture of self-isolation, boredom, and anxiety have together created a fertile ground for the avalanche of lolcats and lolvideos. And not even the smartest ones can escape their attractiveness.

Software development and cats

Software development and cats are more connected than anybody would’ve thought of. And since the boom of IT outsourcing, there is even more space for cats, given that the internet got bigger. 

Even the creator of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee has talked about how he couldn’t foresee the inextricable relationship of cats and the internet.

Plus, did you know that the first cat video uploaded to Youtube was by its co-founder itself. 

A few years in the past, the internet was a place for science, then a place for fun. Today it is the place we live our lives in. The only relevant window to the world.

Why should I care?

Amid COVID-19, when governments are shutting down, the global economy is crumbling, anxiety is on the rise – how could something so banal be so popular? And let’s note that currently, the most popular cat video on youtube has over 175 mil. views. 

There are a lot of theories about why complex human beings engage in such activities. The most popular explanations come down to a sum of:

Easy to digest – in a complex, interdependent world confused with the constant delay of the paradox of choice, these pieces of content limit knowledge and the energy one needs to understand it. It is instant gratification.

Boosts morale – while watching animals has a calming effect in general, it is scientifically proven that watching cat videos boost happiness.

Disconnect us from a dystopian reality – Because cats, unlike dogs, are the representation of carelessness, they disconnect us from a reality with which is too difficult to deal with. It gives us the mental break that is crucial for us to avoid complete emotional and mental fatigue.

Relatable – however strange it might sound; cats have facial expressions that are interpreted by humans as their own. This is the key to the huge success of the likes of Grumpy Cat.

The infinite cat project

In times of social distancing and disconnectedness, this connects us. See, for example, the infinite cat project. A cat that is watching another cat watching him/herself. And for every cat that is watching such a photo, there is another picture. This added to the popularity of cats on the internet and connected people. We have also participated in this chain.

Cat
Sophie the cat

Your own cat-experiment

Are you still not convinced? 

Here is an empirical experiment you can do right now. Check if any of your friends have a separate Instagram account for their cat. Now, compare the metrics of your friend’s account versus his/her cat’s account. There you go.

The account cats_of_instagram has over 11 mil. followers. To put this in perspective, as relevance goes on Instagram, it’s between French president Emanuel Macron (1.7 mil followers) and Britney Spears (23,7 mil followers).

Self-isolation

It is essential to stay at home so we can be as safe as possible. The rise of cat videos and memes is indicative of how we use the internet and how our lives have already changed.

Even though apparently cat videos or memes are no solutions to any of today’s problem, when you look at the figures of people in quarantine or self-isolation, which right now is over 1/4th of the global population, consuming the internet, rewiring their brains, changing their behavior constrained by space – it seems like we need them more than ever.

For whenever you stop looking at cats on the internet, take a look at what we do on software services.

We, at AROBS, we are working from home, some in the company of cats, dogs and family, since the early days of the pandemic, and we are going strong, working on IT projects for partners in 14 countries on 4 continents.