Boo the Pomeranian may be the most famous dog alive today, based purely on his looks. His photos are the sweetest sort of eye candy known to man, as millions of his fans on Facebook will attest.
As happens with the supremely attractive, he has an empire. He has stuffed toys made in his image. Books have been written about him. He is a public figure, liked by 4,938,017 people on Facebook. That is almost half as many who like Kim Kardashian, and he is a dog without a TV show (yet). When you Google "world's cutest dog," he is your first search result. The appeal of Boo is simple: as he writes on his heavily trafficked Facebook page, "My name is Boo. I am a dog. Life is good." But more importantly, he's cute. Man's best friend, clad in sunglasses, in an array of little outfits, occasionally next to his slightly less adorable dog friend Buddy, the forever bridesmaid in the situation that is Boo's heady and amazing life. How can a person not love Boo? When false rumors of his death spread across the Internet in that time we don't like to think about, we were devastated. Can cuteness really die, or does it just go take a nap in "better place" for a while before it's sent back to earth where it belongs?
Now we're faced with what may be the gravest conundrum yet, knowledge we're not sure we're fully equipped to deal with; actually, we're sure we're not. This is worse than that time we found out that House Hunters lied. According to Mike Isaac of AllThingsD, two tipsters relayed the intel that "Boo’s adoptive human mother of the past six years is Irene Ahn, a dyed-in-the-wool Facebook employee working in a leading position in the company’s finance department. After working for Yahoo and PayPal in the past, Ahn has been with Facebook since December of 2008."
At first, Boo's popularity took its time. It was when Ahn created a Facebook page for Boo, with a tidy, handy little URL, that celebrities started to get involved and like things and everything went nuts, or, in the parlance, viral. "And I can’t help but think perhaps knowing a few of the right Facebook engineers helped Boo go viral a little bit faster," says Isaac.
Making matters possibly more suspicious, Ahn has kept her name out of the media, Isaac writes, using a pseudonym for the Boo book and staying off camera when he did his Good Morning America spot, ostensibly "to keep all of the attention on her adorable pup." She's not responded to Isaac's requests for an interview, either.
BetaBeat's Jessica Roy writes, "Curious, isn’t it, that Mr. Dog boasts close to 5 million fans on Facebook, where his owner’s boss is banking on that kind of user engagement? And with a powerful parent like that, he surely didn’t earn those fans through sheer cuteness alone."
A Boo-fan who will remain nameless responded to this news with an emphatic "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" and when pressed by the Atlantic Wire with the question of whether Boo's cuteness would be likely to net him so many followers if he didn't have additional "connections" speculated, "The amount of likes he gets out the gate is unreal. She's got to be doing something a little tricky."
But did she? And even if she did, can we in fact separate cute from some savvy social marketing? What's wrong with savvy social marketing? Also, I dare anyone to say that Boo wouldn't get 5 million Facebook followers all on his own. Maybe it would take him longer, but it would happen. Looks like that don't go unappreciated. It's not like he's a corgi or something. Those guys need all the help they can get.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.