There is a Facebook group started in April 2016 that I have found really interesting for many reasons. It is called Boerboel Owners and is run by Ray St James.
One of the reasons I find it interesting is that many animal breed groups are very political. There can be political posturing and manoeuvring around political power within breed organisations jostling for power. This leads to behaviour akin to the way politicians are behaving right now all over the world (say no more). You have retaliation bannings, splinter groups, huge unpleasant arguments.
These groups are also very emotional. People love their animals and emotions run very high. This is common in many parenting groups as well. People tend to take offence quite easily and start flinging invective due to perceived insults towards their dogs. This causes many people to leave groups and start splinter groups, thus splintering all the resources.
Boerboel Owners is, strangely, neither. There have not been any arguments or political posturing between representatives of different organisations. It is really nice to be in the group. All the time. If there are any kerfuffles, you don’t notice them so they must be dealt with very quickly and efficiently. Which brings me to my third point.
I am an administrator of six Facebook groups. Some of them quite big. They become quite unwieldy as they grow. The post flow is very fast and information disappears as soon as it appears, leading people to ask the same question over and over, hunt for information they recently saw but cannot find, even with the search function. You can only have one pinned post and most people don’t bother to read the pinned post or the description. It is difficult to use Facebook groups as an archive so much valuable advice and information is lost.
Ray is really active and works hard to maintain Boerboel Owners as a resource for new and experienced owners. He has implemented tag sets on posts to make sure posts within a certain topic are easy to find on a search. He has designated posts for resources and articles which he bumps regularly and is very active at adding new information. This means that all valuable information about breeders, or articles, or feeding, for example, is kept on single threads. He personally welcomes new members and points them to the rules regularly. He has grown the group to thousands in just a few months by actively campaigning for new members. He has grown the value of the group by adding big players in the area and encouraging them to share their expertise. Because people don’t feel they will be jumped on, they freely offer information and photos, and any disagreements I have seen have been within discussions where people see value in opposing points of view. If I had a dog problem and needed help, this is probably the group I would choose to post in first.
I really hope that the group continues in this vein because it is a pleasure to see and I can see many useful things in it that I would like to implement in my own groups. Which are, luckily, about less emotive subjects!
Categories: S African Boerboels