Twitter Problems

To: <>, <>
Subject: Twitter Problems
From: Simon Mustoe <>
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 2009 21:52:47 +0000

Sorry, I was not meaning any offence. The term 'rampant use' was in the context 
of the whole of Twitter, not just the BirdLine feeds.

I agree, RSS is set up to syndicate content already - we've yet to add it to 
Wildiaries ( but it is coming. RSS was 
designed to do this. Twitter was designed to alert people and their 'followers' 
to information of particular interest to that audience.

The more people use Twitter Feed, the more the information gets fed back into 
Twitter's servers again and again. I can see the point in having a Twitter 
account set up to feed rarities information to accounts, but I can't see how 
the use of a fully automated system provides any quality service. It would also 
seem to me that if everyone starts refeeding information rampantly, that 
eventually the benefit of Twitter will become diluted as the 'net gets swamped 
and the service to users reduced.

For one, I can't see why you'd feed data from Eremaea. Why not set up a 
dedicated hashtag site, set up hashtags for different levels of rarity, get the 
users to submit ... thereby the content arrives in one place and is filtered by 
hashtags, then syndicate this content into Eremaea?

This is the reverse of what you have done and would seem to me to be a far 
better model, as it integrates receiving of information from users, some degree 
of immediacy, makes proper use of the technology and allows Eremaea to maintain 
the content and QA this as necessary.



> From: 
> To: ; 
> Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Twitter Problems
> Date: Sun, 8 Nov 2009 21:58:21 +1100
> Simon,
> I thought I had best reply to this since it was me that set up the Twitter
> feeds from all the Birdlines and from birding-aus.
> I would have replied sooner, only I have spent this weekend participating in
> the Victorian Twitchathon.
> 1. After experimenting with a number of different mechanisms I eventually
> settled on TwitterFeed to provide an EXPERIMENTAL feed from the Birdlines
> and birding-aus. It was absolutely vital to do it this way because the
> purpose of the experiment was twofold - (i) to test available technologies;
> and (ii) to test the level of interest from the Australian birding
> community. In my original postings when I introduced the feeds I stated both
> of these objectives.
> 1a. I have asked Richard and Margaret Alcorn to look at the possibility of
> adding a direct Twitter feed from the Birdlines (thus bypassing the
> TwitterFeed approach). However, I have also said that there is no point in
> doing this until we have sufficient interest to make the development
> worthwhile.
> 1b. birding-aus uses a list manager called "MailMan" that does not directly
> support feeds. As a result, the EXPERIMENTAL process (stress on
> experimental) is to convert the list entries - emails - to a blog, then use
> the blogging engine's functionality to produce an RSS feed. This RSS feed is
> converted to Twitter using TwitterFeed. This approach was selected because,
> whilst round-about, does actually work. However, it also requires management
> - in particular, removing older entries from the blog, so the RSS
> feed/TwitterFeed combination works without error. Unfortunately I have had
> other things to do, and have not had a chance to deal with this presently. I
> am reasonably sure that I will be able to rectify the problem within a few
> days. In the meantime, Russell has told me that he is interested in
> replacing MailMan with a more sophisticated product that will allow
> additional functionality - including the ability to generate feeds.
> 2. Regarding the ephemeral nature of Twitter. Surely this is the entire
> point. There was never any consideration of replacing the birding-aus
> archives or the existing Birdline pages or archives. The driver was to
> produce a FEED that could be incorporated into other sites, including
> Facebook, or devices, including iPhone. For example, I follow (subscribe to)
> the Birdline Twitter feed so that I receive Birdline reports direct to my
> iPhone. In addition, I have a desktop widget that displays the Victorian
> Birdline entries on my computer desktop.
> 3. I dispute your argument that Twitter is not the right tool "if we have
> any interest in using posts to generate sightings information". Currently
> there is absolutely no facility for posting sightings by Twitter. I won't
> even think about looking at this until there is sufficient interest. In
> addition, it should not matter HOW people choose to receive their
> notifications - email, Twitter, SMS, looking at Birdline web pages. What
> matters is the process behind receiving sightings, moderating them, and then
> providing them through whatever channel there is a demand for - including
> Twitter.
> 4. I further question your statement "Rampant use of TwitterFeed is starting
> to dilute the value of what could be a very useful tool for birding". In
> particular - what is "rampant" use of TwitterFeed. I have configured a total
> of seven feeds - what makes this "rampant"? Also, how does provision of
> information through feeds, whether they be RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, or any
> other sort of feed dilute the value of a very useful tool for birding?
> Surely the entire point is to disseminate information, and all we are doing
> is debating the mechanism by which this is done.
> All the best,
> Paul Dodd
> Docklands, Victoria
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of Simon Mustoe
> Sent: Saturday, 7 November 2009 9:14 AM
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Twitter Problems
> Hi,
> 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).
> Regards,
> Simon.
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