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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Hamsters And The Internet

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Click image to enlarge
wordle of Catya's blogs
Image Courtesy of Wordle.net
A “wordle” – word cloud – made from the text of Catya’s blog. The more often a word is used, the bigger it appears..

Hello again, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a great day to think about all the special people in your life, but it’s also a good day to think about the special animals you know. So this Valentine’s Day, I gave all of my hamsters a kiss and some sunflower seeds. That’s much better for them than candy!
 
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of hamster research on the Internet. Some of it is for the research project I told you about, but I spent a lot of time just being in awe of how much hamster information there is on the Net. I think we hamster owners sometimes take our web presence for granted — it’s a really important thing for the hamster world. Without the Internet, the “hamster fancy” wouldn’t be what it is today.

Hamster owners have all kinds of resources at their fingertips, things they wouldn’t have without the Internet. When I was getting started in the hamster world, the Internet was a huge help. I learned a lot about hamster genetics from a site in Massachusetts. I found out about the Roborovski hamster's natural habitat from Wikipedia. I read articles by hamster experts on sites like SmallAnimalChannel.com, and many other helpful sites.

Now that I’ve been a hamster breeder for some time, I tend to use tools like e-mail lists for breeders and forums on informational sites. Breeders from all around the world get together online and have wonderful discussions about hamster colors and genes. Just yesterday, I was corresponding with a Roborovski hamster breeder who lives in Singapore!

The Internet isn’t just for the hamster breeders, though, there is so much fun to be had by more casual hamster owners and their pets! Things like photo contests, hamster trivia games and cute animations of dancing hamsters set to music help spread the hamster love over the series of tubes we call the Internet.

Just for fun, I went to a website that someone at IBM started to study how we use language and the Internet. I entered the text from all my blog posts to create a “wordle.” It’s fun to see which words I’ve used the most, and the picture really tells the story. Websites like SmallAnimalChannel.com are a very important part of the “hamster culture,” I believe. We have a great community in the hamster world, and it simply would not be possible without the Internet. I feel really lucky to be a part of it.
 
What about you? How has the Internet affected your experience of hamster ownership ? 

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