Welcome to Hell, nimrods. This is your last day as employees of the Cincinnati Zoo and your first day as global brand ambassadors of a 1,200-horsepower content generating machine best known for the absolute truckload of baby panda videos and giraffe GIFs it churns out on an hour-by-hour basis.Under my watch, we’re going to do things a little differently. My social media strategy boils down to basically just throwing up as many photos of cute-ass bear cubs on Facebook as I can. The percentage of photos taken of cute-ass bear cubs that are put on Facebook should be one hundred – ideally, one hundred and five, but I understand if that’s not possible.Now, I don’t just stop at bear cubs. My strategy applies to any photos of wicked sweet turtles, frickin’ adorable lemurs, one-trick-pony gazelles, party poopin’ water buffalo, weird-as-heck orangutans, sassy lil’ jellyfish, and, really, any animal we’ve got at the zoo.Starting today, we’re no longer zoo workers. We’re the world’s luckiest content providers and social media influencers surrounded by a near-pornographic degree of living, breathing, molting clickbait. This “zoo,” if you will, is nothing more than an elaborate game of Whac-A-Mole if the moles were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for social media self-promotion and the whacking was keeping our heads out of our asses and getting every last drop of that cute, furry goodness on-friggin’-line.
Our point-of-view is two-dimensional. Our cell phone bills will skyrocket. The zoo is working to develop an expensing system and will get back to you shortly on that.
My motto is simple: I see an animal, I take a photo, I post that shit everywhere. That’s been my jam for as long as I can remember.
If you’re giving a baby polar bear a bubble bath, you’d better also figure out how to blast that shit across the Facebook feeds of 312 million Americans on their lunch breaks.
If there’s a baby orangutan with a cough that doesn’t go viral, I will scream into your left ear until you’re deaf, but only in that ear, so you’ll be vulnerable to attack from the left.
And if I find out that one of you fed a crunchy vegetable to a baby hippopotamus in front of an audience of none, I will grab you by your ankles, swing you over my back, book it to the nearest coast, tie a 30-pound weight to your feet and throw you into the sea where, if there’s a God, your remains will be scattered throughout several sharks’ bellies before it’s too late for me to grab a photo of that baby hippopotamus with a shred of lettuce stuck in its whiskers.
Now, for some reason, you guys have been asking me how we feel about filming reptiles and posting them to Facebook. Some folks are concerned that the camera flash might be damaging to these animals’ vision.
Just to be clear, I believe the reptiles in question are Diego the rattlesnake, the albino alligator, the family of iguanas, and 50 or so narcoleptic lizards whose names I haven’t had time to learn because I’ve been too busy screaming again and again that, for the love of God, we treat every single animal at this zoo like it’s Marilyn Monroe standing over a sewer grate and there are about as many exceptions to that rule as there will be reptiles without premature cataracts, which is zero.
To everybody else in this godforsaken world, Facebook is no longer Facebook. Starting today, Facebook is that website where all anyone’s ever talking about is the latest piece of flavor-blasted content from the zoo that pushed the envelope. That made them laugh. That made them cry.
That’s the tricky thing about art, my friends. It’s not to be tamed, understood, or even liked.
But you’ll be damned if it doesn’t haunt your dreams.
So, buckle up, screwballs. It’s baby panda video o’clock and you’re already late.
Cara Michelle Smith is a writer and journalist. You may be familiar with her work. Who knows? You can harass her on Twitter here, so long as you do so creatively.