Twitter Problems

To: Simon Mustoe <>
Subject: Twitter Problems
From: Chris <>
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2009 15:09:15 -0800 (PST)
For what it's worth, Twitter is planning to allow users to access all past 
messages (making it no longer ephemeral).

In my opinion, social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be good 
for posting out announcements because people are using such sites as a "one 
stop shop" for getting updates from sources they value.

RSS feeds are similar in the sense that if I run my own website with a "what's 
new" column and make the news feed available via RSS, then others could grab 
that feed, along with feeds of other items of interest. The difference here is 
that "my own website" should retain an archive of information long into the 
future (which is good) but setting up RSS feeds is that much more tedious for 
your audience (in comparison, say, to following someone on Twitter), which is 

How's this for a suggestion? Use Flickr.

Why? You might not even have a photo of your bird. Because with flickr you can 
organise your photos in many useful ways. (Instead of a photo, just use a dummy 
image - or take a camera with you and when you see a species, write it down, 
and the number sighted, and photograph the words - this is important, because 
the photo will give you a date and timestamp).

* In sets: you could, for example, have a set for "2009" and another for 
"Raptors" and another for "Central Australia". You can then put a single photo 
into multiple sets.

* Using tags: further, you can add tags, or keywords to your photos. Obvious 
ones are the species name, but many of the "field guide" groups that exist go 
right up through genus, family, order, etc. Want to search for all your records 
for a given species? search for the tags.

* Using groups: if several of you join a single group and submit all your 
records to the one group, you'll quickly get a big picture

* Geographic location: this is the killer - you can browse maps of the world 
and drag your photos to the location you took them. You can also browse maps 
and say "show me all records for the map that's currently on my screen"

I track sightings records for Tasmanian tigers and have used Google Earth to do 
so. That's fine for presenting a bit of a tour, but in order to make the data 
really searchable you need to be able to come to each record by different 
means, not just location. For example, using tags, sets and the map you could 
answer the question "which species did I see with Birdwatch Group X in the 
Royal National Park in 2006?"

(PS, of course, each photo - or sighting record - can have a title and 
description too).


From: Simon Mustoe <>
Sent: Sat, 7 November, 2009 9:13:58 AM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Twitter Problems


Understanding which social networking tools to use, is a big hurdle for most 
people. Let's take Twitter as an example. Rampant use of TwitterFeed is 
starting to dilute the value of what could be a very useful tool for birding. 
TwitterFeed takes the posts from a website and then automatically feeds them 
out via Twitter. Then just imagine, another person can take a feed this 
TwitterFeed and feed it out again, and so on. 

With respect to Russell (sorry Russell, I hope you don't mind this public 
opinion, but it's important), I noticed that this is how the birdline twitter 
sites are done...the problem is, that it doesn't actually work...I get the 
message 'too many tweets' and I can't access content. You can imagine that the 
ultimate benefit will be lost. The basic fact is that you can see this content 
just by visiting the Eremaea site, so why bother? Secondly, twitter is 
ephemeral. There will be no permanent record of the information gathered. If I 
recall, something like 2 months until messages drop off into the ether. 

Twitter is about immediate promotion to the world. It is not the right tool for 
automatically syndicating content and it is not the right tool if we have any 
interest in using posts to generate sightings information. 

For many of the social networking tools (Twitter, Facebook etc) there are too 
many negatives that, in my view, outweigh the benefits that would be needed for 
a sustainable system FOR CONSERVATION and BIRDING (let's face it, there is no 
point in doing this if this isn't the main objective). 

Here is a bit of information that may help people understand more about where 
to put their information. Note, all the tools for birding are there already. 
Use them wisely and draw on their strengths. 

A few rules of engagement:

Your personal website is more important than any other. However, be realistic, 
your website will never reach its full potential unless you SHARE. Make sure 
you track your website using Google Analytics (easy to set up). 
Place all your information on your own website, (or the free one that best 
suits your needs), but promote yourself widely using the range of available 
networking tools (see below). Don't be shy...the true value of your content is 
when it is seen by lots of others, not just by you. 
Understand the strengths and purpose of the different networking tools (see 
below). ONLY use them for the purpose that they were designed.Do not be tempted 
to do too much. Sending every message to all the twitter feeds, every 
discussion forum etc will be a waste of your time and may annoy others. Post 
content that is relevant and interesting.Make sure you link to content that is 
'rich'. There should ideally be some depth and supporting information to your 
content.For more information, see


BIRDLINE AUSTRALIA / EREMAEA (Web) - run by Richard and Margaret Alcorn. Use 
this to submit information about rarities. Access their pages here:

FORUMS (DISCUSSION) - BirdingOz - Craig Miller's site, aimed at raising the 
profile of Australia's birding photographers. Very useful thread-based 
discussion forum, distinctly different from Birding-Aus. It caters for lots of 
select groups, wanting to discuss particular issues in small sub-forums.

FORUMS (LISTSERVER) - Birding-Aus - A one-stop-shop place for reaching the 
majority of mainstream birders in Australia, in one hit. Copy information of 
great relevance to the ENTIRE birding community here. Anything that you post to 
BirdingOz or Eremaea could end up here. Make use of links, so you can send 
people, if necessary, back to your rich content. 

TRIP REPORTS (BIRDING DIARY) - Wildiaries - Designed so you can keep a diary of 
your activities over time and provide rich content. Post your best images along 
with text from your trips. Because images and sightings are associated with 
locations, it provides a lasting record of birding activity and contributes to 
a growing database of information about Australian species. Links directly back 
to your own website. You can even embed your trips in your blog / website using 
iframe (like embedding a YouTube video).  



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