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Mailpets: For the love of animals

How do we define community here at Mailgun? Pet pictures...lots and lots of pet pictures. Read more...

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For almost two years now, Mailgun has posted a pet picture onto our social media accounts on Fridays. #Furbabyfriday, as it was dubbed by me, has somehow become a tradition within those two years, alongside the enduring Mailpets channel. It’s crazy to think about what I thought would be a short-lived social media campaign turned into a culture staple that’s still going strong today.

But, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s start from the beginning.

Cut to Mailgun, approximately two years ago

We were in the process of moving to a new floor in our office building, working from a variety of folding tables and old desks before the exciting upgrade to standing desks. Mailgun was growing –  as we always are – and we had reached that point that possibly every company goes through: the Slack channel bloom.

Our particular burst of Slack channels is dedicated to the different interests or hobbies of the team, and it was largely born out of a need to remove those discussions from more official channels. There’s the gardening channel, the gaming channel, and even a channel solely dedicated to a roaming tissue dispenser in the shape of a cat (#lostcat if you’re curious.) 

All that said, we couldn’t talk about pets in the random channel all of the time, just sometimes. The Mailpets channel started innocently enough (with a coworker asking about a preferred brand of cat litter for his new cat in general chat), and I figured, hey, we might as well make a channel to talk about pet stuff.

Enter Mailpets, pursued by cows

Little did anyone know what Mailpets would become. What started out as a channel to ask pet related questions quickly morphed into a place to show off that cute thing your pet did the other day. With the arrival of #furbabyfriday, the social media pet spotlight, cute pet pictures quickly turned into a weekly competition to see who would get bragging rights for the next week to their friends and family.

Mailpets consists of hundreds of pet photos, thousands of reactions, several cow pictures, and an ant farm. Through Mailpets, people have been able to connect family and friends with adoptable pets, encourage others to become foster homes, and even adopt fosters themselves (myself included!). It became a space where people could destress and look at cute animals, or grieve for their pets who had passed away, or share in the joys of adoption.

Mailpets today: a welcome respite

When the pandemic hit last year, Mailpets was one of the things that didn’t change...unlike everything else. Mailpets has rarely been an in-person affair, save for the few times pet owners campaigned for their pet to win #furbabyfriday via digital signage in the breakroom, so it remained a welcome constant in a time of uncertainty.

In times like these, anything that feels normal is a welcome addition to the day. While dogs barking on Zoom calls or cats walking on our keyboard may not seem normal to those without animals, they gave us company and reminded us of the people and pets we loved during a difficult year.

If you’d like to see what the Mailpets hype is all about – and, by extension, what the Mailgun hype is all about – check out our jobs page (we’re hiring)! We can’t wait to see what community (and pet pictures) you bring with you.

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