The Decline of BA

To: Tim Bawden <>
Subject: The Decline of BA
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2016 21:41:23 +0000
There's no doubt that twitching news has moved to FB in a big way.

Tim, can you please elaborate on the gap you referred to? What is it that FB is 
lacking that a website/forum could fix? There's been an Australian sub forum on for a long time, but my impression is that it rarely 
gets much traffic apart from stuff that interests UK birders. For some reason 
Australian birders seem to have been reluctant to move from mailing lists to 
web sites till FB.  I suspect it was the introduction of smart phones that 
helped Facebook usage spread, and a lot of web forums are difficult to use on a 
small screen.

I agree that FB group size is no guide. Can anyone supply a list of Facebook 
groups relevant to Australian birding, with a description of the sort of 
traffic each one gets? My strategy has been to join lots of them, and see what 
comes up in my feed.

Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

> On 6 Jan 2016, at 6:42 AM, Tim Bawden <> wrote:
> The BA facebook group is largely irrelevant and one that is not much is 
> contributed to - as with any facebook group it relies on the members to 
> contribute so comparing membership is not of much use. There are more focused 
> groups on twitching, pelagics, state based birding and special interest 
> groups like waders and raptors that have far more members and are far more 
> relevant and give more up to date information. For me the tipping point came 
> when a very amateur photographer photographed a Bridled Tern and posted in 
> the Vic Birders forum asking for ID - ID gained, the twitch was organised, 
> people went and failed and we all laughed about it. 3-4 days later a mention 
> finally filtered onto BA.... of what use was that to anyone? There are many 
> examples following - and guess what none of them made it here in a timely 
> manner let alone the BA FB Group. Facebook is actually far from a perfect 
> forum - would be ideal if there was an Australian birding website/forum that 
> could bridge the gap -
  there is a serious market gap for this. I have been a subscriber to BA for 
near on 20 years but have hardly contributed for near on 15 years due to the 
pedantry and behaviour of people on the forum and that has been your loss. I 
find it ridiculous that some of the worst culprits were the first to protest 
when this topic came up and express shock and innocence. Happy to take it up 
offline with any of you who think it applies....
> CheersTim
>> From: 
>> Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2016 15:27:25 +1100
>> To: 
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] The Decline of BA
>> CC: 
>> Bill,
>> The current number of BA Facebook members is around 570.
>> Carl Clifford
>>> On 5 Jan 2016, at 12:55 PM, Bill Stent <> wrote:
>>> As of right now, there are 1,160 members of the email subscription list, 
>>> Lawrie.
>>> Obviously there's a range of activity levels there.
>>> I'm not sure of the membership of the various Facebook groups, but I
>>> suspect they have a larger membership.
>>> Bill
>>>> On Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 12:48 PM, Lawrie Conole <> wrote:
>>>> I've been gone from BA for ages; mostly to do with too much email traffic
>>>> and not enough bird/ing! When I checked the BA archive, there it was - very
>>>> early posts on BA in 1995 from me, pontificating about various bird-related
>>>> matters.  It seems like a lifetime ago ... but a mere 21 years.
>>>> If BA is indeed in decline, I'm sad to hear that. I'm firmly of the belief
>>>> that (i) folks place too much faith in Facebook being the vehicle of choice
>>>> for any useful *long-term* purpose, and (ii) that in the post-Facebook era
>>>> many will regret exactly the yawning gap in useful accessible information
>>>> that several other writers here have alluded to.
>>>> Back in the 1990s I used BA as the vehicle for a survey of field guide
>>>> users and their preferences. I imagine Facebook or Twitter would be just as
>>>> useful as an email list for that kind of research. If it comes to
>>>> searchable associations between birders, birds and places going back
>>>> decades though, I don't see the utility or suitability of FB so much.
>>>> I use Facebook a bit for matters of ephemeral interest and amusement - I
>>>> tend to use Twitter much more for staying in touch with far flung
>>>> ecologists, birders, ecological journal papers, etc. Maybe it's time to get
>>>> back on BA for a while. Out of interest, how many subscribers are there 
>>>> now?
>>>> cheers
>>>> Lawrie
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