Time for me to chip in five cents!
I agree wholeheartedly with all the comments regarding social networking tools.
Fantastic opportunities for birding.
not forget though, that long before Twitter and various websites
existed, we all had mobile phones and in times past could even access
the 'world network' using a comprehensive system of pay phones around
So why then, do we still pine for a Rare Bird Alert System?
reason is that it's not just about what tool you use but how you go
about it. There is one important part of the equation that has not yet
been discussed in this forum. I used to know Dick Filby who runs Rare
Bird Alert in the UK. Several of my close friends operated the system.
I was one of the FIRST birders in the UK to have one - Dick gave us
stoodents a freebie, so we could run around shamelessly boasting about
it ... as it went off with an audible alarm, it soon had birders
interested. But its success had nothing to do with the fact it was a
Rare Bird Alert works because it is manned every day and
in recent years, almost 24/7. It takes the hassle out of communication
because a simple phone call to a recorded message bank and within
minutes, your record is being received by the masses. The middle man
does the networking, so you don't have to. You don't even have to think
about logging on, it simply arrives on your phone wherever you happen
to be, at any time. It's success is due to hard work and, most
importantly, it is funded - so the system is quality controlled. This
is really important.
Yes, social networking tools are great
but they don't satisfy this need now and they won't in the future
either - well not until we have a Wide Area Network over the entire
country (maybe satellite iPhones in future). No medium will actually do
the job unless someone 'drives' the process. I or anyone else could
easily use Twitter to communicate rare birds but I have to also feed my
family, so I am not about to spend hours EVERY day managing and
moderating the process. Maybe we leave it to the masses but as Chris
Sanderson says, you then lose quality control. This was one of the most
important considerations in UK Rare Bird Alert. I can't tell you how
frustrated people got about cock ups. Quality is everything. Then,
there is no guarantee people would even receive the news. IPhone or
not, you don't log on all day every day and you certainly don't can't
use an iPhone in much of the outback - though you can get mobile
reception, though GPRS is going to be costing you the equivalent of
satellite bandwidth (~$10 / MB).
So the way I see it, if
Australians want Rare Bird Alert, then there is really no alternative
to a subscription system with some form of 'alert'. Now that doesn't
preclude the use of social-networking or the web. In fact, it may be
Chris and I have begun a process to look
into this. If anyone who has not already responded, would like to
provide their thoughts then drop me a line and I will send you a
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