The Decline of BA

To: 'Peter Shute' <>, 'Tim Bawden' <>
Subject: The Decline of BA
From: Tony Russell <>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2016 23:45:36 +0000
Smart phones ?  Oh, so that's what my trouble is. None of that expensive
mobile gadgetry for me - and my neck bones are  still up straight, not
kinked permanently forward and down.( BTW this has now been acknowledged as
a medical condition).

You could try to call me , I'm on unlimited local and interstate landline
calls and skype,  and have no problems with flat batteries.

Hm ! does that count as friendly trolling ?

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Peter Shute
Sent: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:11 AM
To: Tim Bawden
Subject: The Decline of BA

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,
>>> 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 <>
>>>> 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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