Social Media

Include all types of Social Media and Web 2.0 appliences.

Day 9. Blogging. Social Media for birders.

Reasons for blogging

There are different reasons for blogging. Blog is short for web-log – originally meaning a web-diary – with the big difference – while a diary is secret the blog is open for anyone to read. The inner soul of millions of people are exposed around the world through blogs.

In a way it is strange that not more birders blog. Think about it. Birders share information and photos. Birders are very thirsty for birding information. Looking at the success of Birdfourm, Surfbirds and Fatbirder it is clear that birders already use the internet A LOT – and to some extent are already using some social media. In spite of this, neither Facebook and to even a lesser extent blogging and Twitter, have won the masses over. There are still many birders who do not use social media as much as they could.

Why should birders blog?

In the past posts I have mainly dealt with Facebook, except for the last post where I talked about the blogging platform Posterous.  Certainly, Facebook is in some ways Blogging, Flickr and Twitter in one single interphase. But there are limits and the most important one, is that you have to have a Facebook account to interchange information and see the posts of someone on Facebook. I’m sure you know a lot of birders who still have not connected with Facebook .

  • With a blog there is no limit to how many people you can reach.
  • Post your bird pics and discuss them.
  • Easy to share on forums and birding lists.
  • You can use Facebook to promote you blog.
  • Some birders use the blog only for birding trips. It is like a trip diary but kept on line. See Sheridan Coffey’s and Diana Fruguglietti’s blogs to get an idea.
  • If you have a birding business you SHOULD have a blog to create content on your URL.
  • Check the keywords in the illustration above.  All are reasons why some of us blog. Which are applicable to you?


  • Posterous. My favorite. The easiest way to blog. Just send an email with some photo’s attached and your blog post is ready. You can also connect all your socialmedia platforms, so that when you post to your posterous blog you also post to Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Flickr. I dealt with Posterous in the previous post in this blog series.
  • Blogger – blogspot.  This is Google’s platform. Very easy to use -and directly connected to Picasa to upload photos and Google Friend Connect to get your friends involved – although Google Friend Connect also can be set on Word Press blogs now. Most birdbloggers seem to use Blogger, maybe because its name – sort of a default first stop for anyone who wants to blog.
  • Word Press. This is the platform to chose if your blog will be part of an already existent web-page – and especially if you are to use the blog for “promoting” your business. Word Press has tons of applications that help Search Engine optimization, comment management, spam control, etc. There are also a lot of free themes to chose from and some excellent themes for pay that can be customized.
    It is easy to import a pre-existing Blogger blog into your WP blog if you want to.

Some great blogs to seek inspiration from

These are some of the blogs that I have been checking out lately.

  • Dawns Bloggy Blog Dawn and her husband Jeff travel around North America in their mobile home looking for birds, mushrooms and nature in general – and meet up with other bloggers. Fasten your seatbelts and follow Dawn.
  • John Riutta Multifaceted birder – and a great writer. I love the flow in his writing.
  • A DC Birding Blog. John Beetham does not only write on birds. This past week there are stories with bugs and cleaning of Kemp’s Ridley Turtles after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. I particularly like his weekly series called “Loose Feathers” with links to interesting articles and blogs from the past week.  John always digs up great stuff that are must-reads!
  • 10000 birds hardly needs presentation.  Mike, Corey and Charlie is the strong blogging team that deliver daily posts. 10000 birds is one of the oldest and the most consistent of bird blogs -and the brain child of Mike Bergin.  I don’t know a birdblogger who does not check out 10000 birds daily.
  • Reservoir Catz. Naughty Naughty! And certainly not for the prude. But extremely funny. Short reports from the British twitching scene with lots of irony. It is written like press releases and the serious tone together with frequent four letter words make it hilarious reading.
  • Bird Canada Pat Bumstead’s blog is a good example of good crafted blog with a regular deliveries. I like her Bird News. Similar to John Beetham’s Loose Feathers.
  • Aimophila Adventure’s Rick Wright is not only a great birder of  Wings fame, but also a great writer. His recent deliveries from Tuscuny and Provence are a delight. I am anxious to see what his writing will be like when he visits Peru with us in September.
  • Bird, Words and Websites. Laura Kammermeier has a good eye for good stories and a way with words.

These are just a few of the blogs I read regularly. There are lots more of course.


NBN is another nature blogger’s institution created by  Mike Bergin. Nature blogs are rated on the unique number of daily visitors and sorted into different categories. Naturally, it is a place where you can discover other blogs.  Those blogs that publish daily or several times per day rates much higher than those that only post a couple of times per week, so don’t be too fooled by the rating. There are lots of brilliant blogs that don’t make top 40 that simply do not publish that often.

Nevertheless, follow the instructions to sign up your blog to the network. There is a weekly presentation in the NBN blog of new blogs. This way your new blog get a presentation and hopefully some readers will check you out.


  • If you have not started a blog – start one.  Chose one of the platforms above. You can always transfer to your own URL later.
  • If you have a blog make sure you are member of NBN.
  • Which are your recommended blogs that you read often? Let us know in the comment section.
  • Present your own blog and some words about it in the comment section.

Previous posts about blogging.

Previous posts in the Social Media for Birders series.

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. It is not too late. There are still 23 posts to go! Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference.

Photo Blogging Keywords by MexicanWave/Steve Bridger

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Blogging for Dummies. It does not get easier than this

Posterous LogoIn the previous post in the Social Media for birders Workshop about Google Buzz it was mentioned that Buzz almost is a Blogging platform, although there are a few things missing. Today, I shall deal with a quite new, but little known (at least among birders), dead-easy platform  for blogging.

Imagine if, rather than writing the text and the uploading pictures one by one, you could just write an email insert the pics where you want them, including the embedded videos just with a link and then push send. Few seconds later you would have a perfectly displayed blogpost in an instant. Would that not be incredible? But nah, blogging should be a pain. It could never be so easy. One need to size the pics, move them to the right place and so on, right?

Not with the out of the blue platform Posterous. It can not be simpler than this, just write an email and send it to Posterous. It is not totally new, as it has been around since 2009, but there are very few bird bloggers that use it. In fact I don’t think I have seen any birdblogger use it yet.


I think the platform is very inviting to people who  have never blogged before.

  • Easy.  No need to sign up. Just send an email with your first post to
  • Easy to embed pictures and video. For example, just place the link where you want the YouTube video to appear.
  • Configure your account to include Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Flickr, etc and then include in the email. Like magic your post goes both to your blog and the social service you wanted.
  • Book-marklet blogging. Add the Posterous Book Marklet to your web-browser toolbar. No need to download anything. Just drag and drop the plugin to your toolbar.  Say you find a good page on the web that you would like to blog about.  Highlight text, photo, or video and click the book-marklet and like magic you have half the post done. Add some description and some text and you have created a blog post in a couple of minutes.
  • You can get your own domain.
  • tags can be added to the post by following a specific format.

For already experienced bloggers it maybe a venue to post stuff that doesn’t fit on you regular blog. You can use the blog platform to draw traffic to you regular blog or you can even send posts via posterous to your main blog, although I have not been able to do that  with my own blog.

(To explain it gets so technical even I don’t understand. My blog is a Word Press blog on the company domain which principly is in asp. The Word Press platform use php. The server I use simulates php although it is principally a Windows server. This may be the reason why I can’t make it work…I am in need of help, so if you know please let me know).

If you want to learn more about Posterous check these to introductory blog posts by Guy Kawasaki and Martin Bryant. Also check Posterous frequent answered questions page.

My first Posterous blog can be found here.  I have not done much with it, except for trying out a few things.  But just sending a photo to Facebook and share it on Twitter with a short text gave over 200 views. It  also resulted good to make a fast 2 minute summery pointing to my ordinary blogpost -this one.

Why don’t you blog?

A gave the question to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile, how about you? Do you blog? If not, will Posterous change that?

Is Posterous for you?

If you don’t have a blog and are looking for something easy. Definitely. The most common reason I hear about not blogging is that it is too time consuming.

If you have a blog already and maybe have content that does not fit it, or want a blog that can be used more for commenting on other blogs keeping your main blog for your more thorough personal writing, then Posterous fits the bill. In the later case the Bookmarklet comes in very handy.


Start a Posterous blog. Just send some text and some photo to Let us know your results in the comment section below.

Previous posts in the Social Media for Birders series.

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. It is not too late. There are still 23 posts to go! Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference.

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Ipad for birders. Topping iPhone as birding device.

It is quite clear that the iphone has become a birders favorite gadget with various cool birding applications specially built for birders such as iBird, Sibley’s and Birdseye. Many birders in the choice of buying a new phone, buy iPhones just because the many applications that are available. I recently bought one myself, in spite of already having a Blackberry. It was the software I had in mind, but also the easier interface for reading blogs on the move, superior Facebook function and better Twitter applications (such as Osfoora recommended by Steve Ingraham of  Cloudy days and Netbook nights).  Blackberry, is still best for email. But for everything else I rather use my iPhone.

What makes emailing, Facebook and Twitter on the phone so attractive is that it saves you time. I love the fast access as the screen lights up instantly, which means you can check for emails and enter Facebook and Twitter right away, which of course is not possible on a Netbook or Laptop. One may connect while in line at the bank, in the waiting room, while commuting on public transport, at the redlight and yes – even in the bathroom (admit it!!). For me when guiding on birding tours, it is invaluable to take care of some of my business during long haul travel sections without birding and while getting back to the hotel after a day’s birding.

But there are also limitations with the iPhone in spite that it is possible to increase text size, I still need to constantly carry reading glasses to use it. And  forget having any luck using the Google maps with GPS when driving (no substitute for a GPS system in the car). The text of the street names is just too small.

Practical uses of the iPad for birders in a near future.

  1. The larger screen of the iPad should take care of many of the iPhones shortcomings. The mentioned birding applications shall be awesome on the iPad. Better resolution and easier to compare birds.
  2. iPad should well  be possible to use with Google Maps in the car to get find a particular bird when following directions of a rare bird alert. There will even be services that show the exact location of the bird on the map. Maybe already possible with BirdsEye which gives location for eBird sightings to the iPhone.
  3. More and more birdbooks will be available in iPad format. So you can bring HBW with you and all the field guides of the Neotropics when you take a trip to Peru all fitted into an iPad. It will be a very inexpensive channel for publishers to reach customers and to a cost that could be pressed. Birders should be able to pick up iPad versions of their favorite books to a lower price.
  4. Excellent for watching movies. The birders iPad will be filled with nature films from BBC such as Life of Birds and Planet Earth.
  5. Your subscription of birding magazines straight to the iPad. This should increase shelf life of birding magazines and make them available when you need them.

Then take all the other stuff you can do with an iPad, as you get 10 hours of battery juice for watching movies, playing games, reading books like on a Kindle, as well as internet and traditional stuff such as writing word processing and spreadsheets. Maybe you don’t want to write extensively on the built in touch screen, but you can purchase a full scale keyboard separately. For more functions check out Apple’s own page about the iPad.


It does not have a camera and it is not a phone. Furthermore, like the iPhone, Flash applications don’t show in iPad. And the distribution in the US with the 3G version is tied to AT&T’s policies. For example, Skype can not be used on the iphone for calls and video  (or at least it used to be this way…don’t know if it is possible now?). Will Skype be possible on the iPad?

One complaint the early users have is that the iPad, has a weak receiver of the WiFi signal and does not pick up as well as other WiFi appliances.

You can do lots with your iPad, but You should not do this.

Should I get one now?

So as a birder, should you rush to the store and get one? I think I will wait until some specific tools for birders are developed and more birdbooks are available. We are not quite there yet.

Furthermore, this Spanish comedian has a point when he says…..”the moment you made the purchase and walk out the door there is a new updated version out

OK, that is funnier in Spanish. The translation is not that great.

Finally, my take on iPad is: Wait!
What is yours? Have you bought one? Will you? What other functions and uses for birders do you anticipate?

Google Buzz

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25 things to make Facebook better

Dear Facebook,

There are at least 25 improvements we would like to suggest to Facebook. While we are happy users, there are still small annoying limitations that could be improved.

  1. Group Feed. In spite that there are millions of groups and the average user belongs to several dozens of groups, there is yet no effective way to monitor the groups. A group feed of the groups you belong to would take care part of the problem.
  2. Add friends to your different lists while looking at their profiles.
  3. Custom feed when opening Home. Before the change in which Home opens with Top News with the ability to wobble to Most Recent, I could have the feed of selected friends show when opening Facebook.
  4. Download the emails of your friends
  5. Possible to write more than 20 friends at the time.
  6. Send a friend request to fans of pages you manage
  7. Send friend requests to members of groups that you manage
  8. Upload sound files that would play on your Page.
  9. See Friends Status in a list, which also include the hidden friends.
  10. Able to edit lists of friends in Home as well as in Profile.
  11. A filter to be able to hide texts like ‘X became a fan of Y’ or ‘X became friend of Y’ or ‘X joined to group of Y.
  12. Search for your friends in geographic area and then a function to select all to add to a list or create a new list.
  13. Send personal event invites to all of your friends at once w/o receiving a SPAM warning.
  14. Option to comment like yourself to your fan page. So when I comment to Kolibri Expeditions Fan page, it will show as Gunnar Engblom is commenting (or other admin person) rather than the long SEO optimized Kolibri Expeditions Birdwatching Tours – Birding Peru.
  15. Search function for your own wall and for home feed for keywords on topics that interest me as well as being able to find stuff that you enjoyed in the past.
  16. Taking this search engine further with multi-level search for example categories, friends or not, country, etc
  17. Better analytics for Facebook Pages.
  18. In Peru availability to advertise by cities and nearby, just as you can in other countries.
  19. Polls built within Facebook, not as an app people need to accept for it to be able to work.
  20. Commenting with video within FriendFeed and Google Buzz.
  21. Drag and drop for images, files and videos.
  22. Voice and Video Chat not only text
  23. Searchable Chat like on Messenger and Skype
  24. To be able to see Fans in alphabetic orders, not only in the order they signed up.
  25. Your suggestion! Please leave comment below. Which should be the 25th improvement that could be done to Facebook?


300 million Facebook users all over the world


If you help Retweet, share on Facebook and Google Buzz and use all sorts of bookmarking services such as Digg, Stumble Upon and Delicious, maybe before we know it, Facebook will notice and listen. Just use the various button below . Thanks!

Thanks to Janet Zinn, Gyorgy Szimuly, Jill Routh Rucker, Debbie Blair and especially Daniel Falcon for helping me coming up with so many suggestions on how Facebook could become better.  Also thanks to Grahame Boath, Kim Allen, Peter Gustas, Cathy McArthur and Chris West for additional discussion.

Photo from Flicker by Creative Commons license by Joe M500.
Google Buzz

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Google Buzz for birders

The last post in this series indicated that it would be great for birders to try to get up to 5000 birder friends on Facebook to be better connected. The Social Media workshop continues, but not at the pace I had proposed. After Colombia vacation simply too many loose ends to tie up. One of these days I will become a real blogger and I shall submit a post every day.

I had a plan for the deliveries of the 31 day workshop Social Media for Birders, but the plan broke with the introduction of Google Buzz some three weeks ago and trying out the email blogging service Posterous (- more on Posterous in a later post). These two tools should definitely also be part of the Social Birders arsenal, because they are ridiculously easy to use. I am now re-writing the schedule and inserting the hot pancake Google Buzz for birders.

John Haydon said it well:
If Facebook and Twitter had sex the baby would be named Google Buzz

If Facebook and Twitter had sex, their baby would be like Google Buzz. Google Buzz combines features from both these platforms.

This is Google Buzz

  • Only for Gmail users. It is likely Google over-rides this in the near future.
  • Not limited to 140 characters. Links get a nice long excerpt
  • Buzz  functions much like the somewhat dormant FriendFeed as you may comment posts and make a conversation.
  • You may import your feeds from Flickr and Twitter, as well as your blog. In order to add a non-Blogger blog housed by yourself, you need to enter and add your website/blog, and then verify it. It will show up as a connected site in buzz after that. (Thanks Debra Askanase for the tip).
  • Contrary to Friend Feed it does not seem to be indexed in the regular Google Search, but posts can be found in Buzz search
  • It is easy to use in the Gmail inter phase. There is a Buzz folder just below your mail-box. Fast and easy to use.
  • Replies to your buzzes come to your mail box. If you become a very active user this can become a little bit too much, but you may make folders where Buzz messages are sent directly.
  • Easy to share your photos and links with a great interphase. Especially easy to share from Google Reader.
  • Potential to reach birders that have not yet jumped on the Twitter and Facebook bandwagon, but use gmail.

By all means check out the official presentation video from Google.

Birder friendliness?

Here are a few examples. Check  how link sharing is done on Twitter, Facebook and Buzz. Which is most user friendly for birders?

Sharing a birding link of Twitter

Sharing on Twitter

This is from Tweetdeck. Using the PowerTwitter plug-in for Firefox gives a nicer display, but you can’t organize in columns as with TweetDeck

Sharing a birding Link of Facebook

Sharing on Facebook

Sharing on Facebook allows for one picture and add text describing what you are sharing.

Sharing a birding Link on Buzz

Sharing with Google Reader to Buzz

Far superior link sharing for a blog post with a lot of photos of birds. Google Buzz is the winner. Furthermore the size of the pics  is much larger. Click the image to see how the post would show in the application. Sweet, huh?

Google Reader and Feedly

Buzz is far superior platform to share blogs with other birders.  What is great is that it is very tightly connected with Google Reader.  Sign up for Google Reader immediately. Google Reader is an RSS reader to which you direct all those RSS feeds of blogs and news you enjoy reading. You may even feed forums like Bird Forum and Surfbirds Forum or feeds from your favorite Twitter friends or even a feed for a keyword search on Twitter.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what RSS stands for or what it means. All you need to know is that you can read a copy of the newly published text from a web-site or a blog.  You basically collect all yoru favorite dynamic websites (blogs, news and web-sites that update frequently) in one place. Look out for this RSS logo which if you use Firefox as browser you will find in the address bar on the right hand side or you may have to look for it  in the sidebar.

Fill your Google Reader with all the stuff you like. Sort the stuff into different folders. Play around with it. It is pretty self-explanatory. If you get problems, let us know in the comment section. There will always be someone who can help you.

The Reader will be your prime source to find stuff to share. If you decide to share something on Reader it will automatically also be fed to Buzz.

In spite of the greatness of Google Reader, it is still a bit stiff, why I recommend to check out Feedly. Your favorite feeds and the latest posts will be organized into a newspaper like mode. And you may share directly from Feedly, not only to Buzz, but to a range of different platforms such as Twitter and Facebook , as well as various bookmarking sites.

Buzz as a blog?

Well almost! According to Peter Campbell of Techcafeteria Google Buzz is already 80%  a full-fledged blog.  Here are the points that Peter mentions

  • You can edit, format and embed media just like a blog
  • Commenting
  • You can subscribe to any one’s Buzz via RSS
  • Google profile works like the blog homepage, with links, contact pages and about the author.
  • It works great on the mobile.

Google Buzz mobile.

In fact, maybe it is on the phone that Google Buzz will have most relevance. Why? Because it does not only give all the sharing abilities but also location. So in a near future with loads of birders as Google Buzz users, you should be able to get updates from complete strangers of what they are seeing at the birding site you are approaching.

Google is only a month old, but check this video and  imagine what Google Buzz would mean on your phone with GPS ability.

What shall I post on Buzz?

I tried first to feed my Twitter Feed to Buzz.  But to tell you the truth it does not look too impressive to duplicate the content also on Buzz. Many of the Social Media gurus have pointed out that it makes no point in following someone on Twitter and Google Buzz if it is the same content. I think manual sharing may be what Buzz is best for. Especially things that you pick up on Google Reader. It is also great place to hold discussions on any topic. Certainly more user friendly than Twitter.

It shall be interesting where Buzz takes us. I am interested in hearing your comments.  How are you using Buzz?

If you want to learn more about Buzz, I suggest you take a look at John Haydon’s Google Buzz blogpost which also have several links to other Buzz resources.


  • Get a gmail account!
  • Check out Google Buzz
  • Add some friends. If you want to add me, my email is
  • Get Google Reader and add some RSS feeds.
  • Get Feedly.
  • Comment below.

Previous posts in Social Media for birders

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. It is not too late. there are still 25 posts to go! Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference.

Google Buzz

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How to add birders from all over the world as friends on Facebook.

Birding Facebook Friends on-line!

Birding Facebook Friends on-line!

On the last delivery of Social Media for Birders we dealt with Facebook Groups. The reactions to the post on my Facebook profile (no comments on the actual post so far, please leave your comments!), was that Facebook groups are quite lame.

  • They are impossible to follow effectively, as one has to enter the group to see if anything new has been posted. (Although the Group tab on in the left column in Home mode somewhat helps if you are member of few groups, since new photos and links will have alerts).
  • Many groups have large number of members. Facebook Birders for instance have around 4350 members. Yet, there is very sparse activity often several days pass without posts.
  • Apart from proper photo and link sharing, there are re-ocurring self-promoting spammy posts, links, uploaded videos and photos that give little value to the group.
  • The groups don’t invite to engagement in the present form.

But what if we became Facebook friends with all those 4350 minus the 50 people or so that are obnoxious spammers. Then everything they post would show in the NewsFeed and it would be easier to engage on the topics that interest you.  This fact convinced me that the best way to connect with other birders on Facebook is to collect birding Friends. This is the topic of today’s post.

Every birder could have 5000 birding friends on Facebook.

Facebook has, more than any other non-niche social media present, the potential to interconnect millions of birders worldwide.  We are far from there of course. Looking at the most popular groups for birders and bird photographers there may be at the most 10000 birders on Facebook presently (beginning of 2010).  The numbers of new birders signing on increase every day and it will not take long before the majority of the birders will have a Facebook account.
In contrast to Groups and Pages that allow unlimited number of members or fans, 5000 friends is the max you are allowed to have on your profile.  Here is why collecting birding friends to your Facebook Profile makes sense.

  • Profile becomes like a Facebook group but with much better connectivity. Profile is more inviting to engage, because there is a real person not a brand who is speaking, compared to Pages.
  • Connect with birding celebrities. Most of your birding heroes that are on Facebook still don’t have 5000 friends. Wouldn’t it be great to have the guy that wrote the field guide you are using as your friend on Facebook?
  • Easy to get identification advice from more experience birders. There are always birders who know better than oneself.
  • Local assistance when travel for birds all over the world. Cheaper and better birding trip. I have friends in India, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Colombia and South Africa etc.  Guess who I will be asking for advice when I will travel to these countries.
  • You can find partners to go on a birding trip. If you deal with a local birding outfitter, you can use your network to find other birders to share costs with you. Save thousands of dollars compared to a birding trip with the big birding company!
  • Instant reviews and recommendations when you want to buy optics, cameras, gadgets or bird books.
  • Great, fast network for bird conservation campaigns. Conservation minded birders and nature lovers will become more connected than ever for urgent actions. ProAct campaigns will become extremely powerful in the interconnected community.
  • If you have a blog or a bird photo web-page you want visitos to, 5000 birding friends on Facebook would mean more visitors to your page.
  • If your business is birding related…..well obviously 5000 birding friends is not bad, as you will be able to engage with potential customers. Just don’t be a jerk shoving your products down their throats. Business have to learn, that in the Social Media room you don’t try to hard to sell, but instead try to be their for the community. The more you give and share, the more friends, supporters and good karma you get. In the end it will come back to you!

How to get 5000 birding friends on Facebook in five steps.

These are the different strategies I have used. I am still half way from the maximum.  It takes time to build friends and it is not an overnight thing. One little observation – The number is not so important. It is what you do with your friends that is important. You have to nourish your friends. More about that later. If you have a mixed account with birders and non-birder friends you could organize all your friends in lists. Then when you do updates, you can choose if you want everyone to see the updates or just certain lists.

1. Invite those people you already email.

In the right column two sections from the top, there is a blue “Find Friends” button which you click. If you use Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo it is quite easy to let Facebook search for the people you have email at one time or another. You have to give permission to do so, but it really no security risk to do so as you are not giving your password to Facebook, but rather the mail provider holds the password, but gives permission to Facebook to make an automatic search.

WARNING. When this is done a new page pops up with all the emails of your contacts that yet don’t have a Facebook account. DON’T SEND THIS INVITATION.  You would be sending invitations to a bunch of people you may not know well, as well as to all listservers you are subscribed to. When testing the “Find Friends” function I accidently pressed the wrong button, and later got a very angry mail from a birder I don’t know, and had to apologize to a few birding lists I am on. Save yourself the embarrassement.  Only send invitation to people still not on Facebook that you really know well. And a part from sending the impersonal invitation, also hit your friend with a regular email explaining what it is all about and what you like about Facebook.

2. Facebook want you to connect with others!

Contrary to what Facebook was in the beginning, a network of close friends, it has not grown to become a more open network, where you also interact with people you don’t know well, but maybe share an interest or a hobby with.

How to invite more friends to Facebook

How to invite more friends to Facebook

This is how you go about:

  1. Make sure you are in the home mode, and look at the right bar.
  2. You may already have some friend request. I open 10 at the time holding down Ctrl so each open in a new tap in the browser. You want to make sure that the person requesting to become friends with you shares your interest.  So do check them out. If I accept I usually leave a note on the note on the new friends note thanking for the friend request. But don’t spam your new friend’s wall with self-promoting links
  3. Facebook also make suggestions. In general I don’t except brands as friends. They should have a fan-page instead. The smart way for businesses is to become profile friends first because of the shared interest (in this case birding) and the later gain a fan to the page once there is a relationship.
  4. Open each suggestion to see who is behind it and what interest you share. Sometimes it will be hard to know if privacy settings are high, but if your share many friends this is a good indication that the suggested person is also a birder.
  5. Always include a message with the request. Below is my standard note. I manually alter the first name, so it becomes somewhat personal and add my name at the bottom. I also include the person into lists. I have a general list for birders and other lists from the country or region of the friend.
Always send a message when your send a friend request on Facebook

Always send a message when your send a friend request on Facebook

3. Search groups and pages for more friends

When you have run out of suggestions from Facebook, you could actively start looking for friends on groups, pages and check out your friends of your friends. This will be the fastest way to increase your friend number. Just click on See all on members, fans or friends and you get a pop-up that looks something like this:

Add as Friend on Facebook

Add as Friend on Facebook

I don’t send friend request right away, but open each profile that is not yet friend with me (again with Ctrl pressed to open several at once). I send requests to those birders that share a few friends with me and that are obviously birders. Look at quality, rather than quantity.

4. Don’t be an ass on Facebook

  • It is better to send invitations to birders that already have a lot of friends in common with you than totally new birders with only a handful of friends. New Facebook birders who don’t know you, may still not understand why he/she should want to become friends with a total stranger.
  • If you send requests to a lot of people at once, it may happen that Facebook registers your activity and will send you a note questioning your activity. You will want to slow down on the speed you are adding more friends. Remember, you also have to nourish the new friends. Some will write you and you need time to answer.
  • Don’t spam the wall of your friends with self-promotion.
  • Stay away from apps….they spam the walls of your friends. Don’t send virtual flowers, wine, beer and kisses etc. If you absolutely have to post a picture on someone’s wall for a birthday or Christmas, let if be one of your own pictures.
  • Some people on Facebook, may not want to become friends with you. Respect that! (Note in the WARNING above that I totally blew it with my accidental Facebook invitation to my entire email list of email contacts! Anyone  of the receivers reading this, please accept my apologies)

5. Keep and nourish your friends.

Here are a few tips how to nourish your friends. There is no point in having 5000 friends if you don’t make an effort to be there for them.

  • Check your Most Recent Live Feed often (in Home mode). Also make sure to click Edit Options at the bottom of that page to set your number of friends to 5000. If not only feeds of  250 friends chosen by Facebook will show in Most Recent. You want to see all here.
  • Make a list of the friends that comment and like your posts. They have seen you, and you want to keep on engaging and build a relationship with those that care about you.
    Here is how to make a customized feed. Open two parallel pages. One with you profile, so you can see who has commented or like you posts, and the other one after clicking friends in the left column in Home mode, at the top you will see Create List. Then keep selecting those that comment on your page.
  • Use NutshellMail to get daily (or maybe several daily) summaries of your Facebook activity. Here you can select certain lists you want to monitor. It is a way to fast overview your Facebook. Facebook can be a time sink. This way you can turn it off, and come back to it at a certain hour.
  • Always send a birthday wish to your friends and include his/her first name. This means at least once a year you are actively connecting with your friend. It does not have to be elaborate. It does not even have to be on time. The important thing is that it is sent. Nutshell mail also helps you remembering the birthdays.
  • Remember the Social Media mantra. Listen. Engage. Share. Simple rules to live by.


  • Quite obvious. Make some more friends on Facebook!
  • Your tips how to nourish your friends? Comments below, please!.
  • Your tips how to not be an Ass on FB? Comments below, please!
  • You still have not let me know what your favorite Facebook groups are in the last post? Let me know!

Previous posts in Social Media for birders

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. It is not too late. there are still 25 posts to go! Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference.

Photos by license of creative commons:  Linda Tanner (Starlings at Dusk)

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Facebook groups. Everyone use them, but few people engage.

Take control of your Facebook groups now! What are your top 20 Facebook groups?

Take control of your Facebook groups now! What are your top 20 Facebook groups?

Sorry for the delay in this post….I have enjoyed family holiday in Colombia…and while most of this text was ready for quite some time, I only found time to post it today. You shall receive much more frequent posts in the series the coming days.  In the last installment we talked about sharing on Facebook and prior to that about Facebook Pages. Check out these posts, where the comment section is still open for you to take part in the discussion.

Today, we shall look at Facebook groups. Are they useful?

Do you recognize this?

You get a group request. You accept. And for a few days there is some activity. But very soon there is hardly any activity and less interesting discussions. Or the group is spammed with off topic items from annoying self-promoters. Very soon you notice that all the groups on birds you have signed up to contain exactly the same links, the same videos and the same photos.
Part of the problem is that most Facebook users have signed up to too many groups, which  makes it impossible to follow the groups whenever there are uploads and changes. The other major problem is that the owners/admin of the groups often allow off-topic and self promoting garbage.

Take control of your favorite Facebook groups.

Here is the strategy to take control over your groups.
  1. Ignore most group requests you get. In fact I just ignored 147 group invitations.
  2. Limit to 20 groups maximum at one time. That way when you open the Facebook Groups link you can see all the updates that have occurred in groups at the same time.
  3. If you admin a group, be merciless I deleting off topic and spam posts. Also take time to write the poster. Often the “offence” is not done on purpose, just that the offender may not be on top on good practices on Facebook or has not understood the purpose of the group. For example if someone posts a Heron on a Shorebird group, group owner would naturally erase it, but the poster may be a newbie on birding, and not yet grasped that with the term “shorebird” we only include Stints, Plovers and Sandpipers, etc and that Heron in spite being found at the water edge in shallow water do not count as Shorebirds. Not sending a note explaining this, would be quite arrogant and scare off a novice birder.
  4. Complain on the group wall or directly to the owner of the group when you see irrelevant stuff.
  5. Post regularly on each group you belong to. If there is no activity it is partly your fault.

Start a group.

The advantage of the group compared to Pages is that you may send group messages directly to the members of the group. This feature is often miss-used by the administrator. Only use this function when there are specific very important announcements to be made.
It is easy to start a group and then send invitations to join to your friends. If your friends like the group, you shall see that they also invite their friends and soon it can become viral.

Birders Facebook groups Top 20.

In order to kick extra live in the best Facebook groups for birders I thought it would be a good exercise to let the readers decide which are the best groups.  You name the top 10 groups you belong to ranking them 1-10. I shall collect the results and put them into a spread sheet and add up the scores with 10 points for number one, 9 points for number 2, 8 points for number 3 etc. I hope to get at least 30 lists from which I will compile a top 20 list posted in the next blog post.
This will both stimulate more people to check out these groups as well as participating. It will also be a timeless promotion for the same groups as they will appear on a top 20 list on a searchable blog which is indexed by search engines. Also make sure that they are groups and not pages.
Come back to this post in a couple of days to see what the best groups for birders are.


  • Delete groups that are inactive or excessively spammy
  • Write the admin and complain about spammy content
  • Don’t forget. Let me know in the comments below which are your 10 favorite groups about birding on Facebook. Results shall be posted here.
  • Nurish the groups you like. I am sure you have some photo or link you can share.
  • Last post’s survey was not working.  I have  changed to a doodle survey. It is full of google ads (not mine of course, but which finance the free service from Doodle), but it is free.  Is birding your job or your business?

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference. I promise the next deliveries will be more frequent.

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Sharing stuff on Facebook.


In the last post we talked about Facebook pages and how it is useful to have a Facebook page if you have birdwatching business, run a birdclub or have a birding blog you want to promote. Today, it is all about sharing on Facebook. How do you share your own stuff in the best way? And should you not also be sharing stuff of your Facebook Friends? Social media works with altruistic magic. The more you give (share) the more you receive! And I am not talking about virtual flowers and virtual wine, but sharing useful stuff and things you think others will enjoy, and you shall see that your Facebook friends willingly share also your own stuff. Interestingly, and something to think about in your own facebooking, the number one strategy that social media gurus such as Chris Brogan talk about for businesses to be successful using social media as a marketing tool, is providing value for others. That value should be beyond the product/service the company sells. Rather than tooting your own horn the whole time trying to sell, sell, sell, sell – you share for free. The same model that got Facebook and Twitter started. It is free. It is still free, but now they have gained our trust and they can start monetize. This strategy comes in handy even if you are not planning to sell anything. If you provide value for others, you will see that you practically can count on receiving assistance when you need it. Should your birding eventually become a business rather than just hobby, the social network of birders you have built up may actually be the key to your success.

(This is an interesting topic. How many of my readers have a birding related business? How many plan to eventually make birding also your job? Click here to take survey)

Today we look at a few tools, such as Status updates, Notes and Networked blogs we have for sharing on Facebook. Finally, a call for a birders link-sharing club.

Status updates sharing options.

Status updates comes with the option to also link to a webpage, a photo or a video. This is your main way of sharing your own stuff and a simple way to share stuff of others. It is straightforward when it comes to sharing external links. In a way it is similar to sharing links on Twitter. Sharing on Facebook is very effective because it comes with a photo and a short text sample, plus often a personal comment from the linker that is not restricted to 140 characters (although Power Twitter plugin for Firefox does a similar job). Strangely, enough birders are not linking as much as they could on Facebook, which brings us to the question:

What to share?

  • Birding news from near and a far.
  • Birding events – both as the facebook events function or a link to the event itself
  • Your Facebook friends shared items, be that regular links or one of their photos that you admire.
  • Birding blog posts you enjoy.
  • Photo albums with birds on Flickr and pBase you liked.
  • Good trip reports

Also share non birding stuff that reflects your personal taste in moderate portions, such as:

  • Music videos from You Tube. I have somewhat strange taste of music since I like both punk, hip-hop, Frank Zappa and Elvis Presley. I often share my music at 2 AM, with a warning that it may contain foul language. Remember small portions of shared music. Your Facebook wall should not become a jukebox
  • Funny videos from You Tube. Most people like a good laugh. Again small portions is best.
  • Good social media links. OK. That is me because I enjoy social media posts. Some are more useful than others for my birding friends and can thus be shared.
  • Causes. There are causes that can need some more mouth to mouth activity. Challange your friends to match a donation for a good cause.

A blog on Facebook = Facebook Notes

Contrary to what you may think, there are other uses of Facebook notes, than annoying your friends with 20 things about me, your bucket lists, and tagging photos. The main feature of Facebook Notes is to use it as a blog, which was the original purpose. It is very easy to use. If you are not a blogger yet Facebook notes is a way to get started. Here is a short test post about Lomas de Lachay I did to try it out. The drawback is that it cannot be seen unless one logs in on FB, even if you leave all permissions free.

RSS feed to Facebook Notes.

Another interesting function of Notes is that you can import an RSS feed to Notes. The idea is that you could feed your existing blog into Notes, so that it becomes published on your wall. However, as many other bloggers, I use the application Networked Blogs, which does the same thing and has better sharing options. This leaves the feed open for other uses. I tried to make a custom feed containing the blogs of some of my favorites but it did not work that well, as it did not mention the name of each blog, making it appear as if I was the author. I consequently erased my test posts. My apologies if I offended anyone. Currently, there seems to be no way to automatically feed blogs of others to your own wall. If I am mistaken let me know.

For the Birding Peru page I recently created an import a feed from the Birding Peru Yahoo listserver, which immediately creates relevant content to the page and invites non-listmembers, to take part in the discussions. For my company Facebook page I import a feed containing news and new trips published on our main webpage.

Networked Blogs

Lots of bird bloggers use Networked Blogs to share their blog on Facebook. I have the application feed my blog automatically to Kolibri Expeditions’s Facebook Page and I can manually broadcast via Networked Blogs to my Profile wall.


  • Community of blogging birders. OK, the community is not very active, as it is not as effective as it could be. It is easy forget to look at and interact with the blogs that you have chosen to follow.
  • You can find blogs to follow by doing a search and other birders may find yours.
  • Networked Blogs creates a feed containing the blogs you follow which is displayed in the left sidebar of your Facebook home. Be sure to move the Networked Blog feed higher so you don’t forget to look at often.
  • Good sharing options with also Twitter included.
  • Invite your Facebook friends to become readers of your blog. You can invite 20 friends per day. I use a standard invitation such as this:

There’s absolutely no commitment involved by following my blog. I follow 110 blogs on NetworkedBLogs and never get any direct mail notes. Receiving this, you’ll hopefully check my blog and find it interesting, and show your support if you follow! Thx

  • You can pay for the service to be able to broadcast your blog directly to your Facebook friends, a function to be handled with care, but may be useful for the future. As for now, I only use the basic function, which leaves my whole Page function free for other use.

Sharing your blog – How often can I share?

I think one may get away with linking three times on Facebook to the same blogpost, as long as you also share other stuff, and add something every time you link again. This works for me.

  1. Status update. When I have finished the blogpost I post immediately with a short URL from I always try to think of an eye-catching title and comment. The link will open up anyway, but to get the text in the status update feed, you need to close the link.
  2. Link. After I posted I go back to see if there are any updates that need to be done. There may be comments, that should warrant some changes or there could be an interest discussion going on that can be referred to. I also check to see that the excerpt for the blog that will be pulled by Facebook is concise and on topic. My blog posts are often published in the middle of the night at first, so I try to repost the link in the morning the following day, when hopefully more people are on line. Between the Status update and the link, I should have linked to other interesting stuff, so it does not appear that I am only blowing my own horn. I also change my status update. The nice thing about Link, is that one gets to chose which photo to illustrate the excerpt with. I find a bit annoying that the full URL does not show or at least the title of the blogpost in the link. I most often only sea my company root URL, where my blog is housed. If anyone know how this can be tweaked let us know.
  3. Networked Blogs. About an hour or so, Networked Blogs automatically send my blog to the Facebook page of Kolibri Expeditions (check Page settings how to do this –let me know if you need help). Therefore, 32 hours later (24h +8h), it makes sense to post once again, if there are comments here. Also, there is a prompt when you open networked blogs that suggests you to publish. Here you can’t make an additional intro comment and the photo is already fixed. However, the app shows the name of the post and the ongoing discussion. Again between the link and networked blogs there should be various other links and updates.

Birders link sharing club.

A couple of weeks ago I explained in a blog post how to make a customized Feed to replace the default  NewsFeed (selected content by FB) and the Live feed (the wall feed from all your friends combined). Check this post because it tells you how to make lists. UPDATE: Unfortunately, with the new Facebook lay-out it is not possible to customize the feed at home more than selecting which friends should show in the live feed. This is done at the bottom of the page at your Home. You may wobble between Top News and Most Recent. Make sure you select More Recent and scroll down to the end of the page. The default is showing only 500 of your friends. You may set this to show all friends (up to 5000) or select only the ones you want to show.
I recommend the former and instead create a special group of friends you want to follow closer. Why not make a club – a feed of people following this Social Media Workshop. State your Facebook URL below. Each of us invite each person and create a new feed containing Social Media birders. Click on Friends on the left column in Home and Create a list (on to). Make to monitor list frequently. You may also subscribe to the links of each through RSS (with for example Google Reader), but then you will need not to forget to check the RSS feed.

When you see an interesting link use the share button to share with all your Facebook friends. Be sure to share blogposts of the Social Media Workshop participants that you like. Both your friends and the blogger will be grateful.

Facebook sharing birders Friend List.

I am adding the Facebook profile links to the birders that comment to this article as well as the previous deliveries. I suggest you befriend each one – send an invitation, and don’t forget to mention that you saw their name here, so they know what it is about.,

  3. Brian Allen
  4. Alyssa Strouse
  5. Andrew Thelander
  7. Bill Lynch
  8. J.B. Churchill
  9. Kimberly Sucy
  11. Steve Corbett
  12. Catherine Lewis
  13. John Waugaman
  14. Peggy Henderson Williams
  15. Matthew Wridgway
  16. Rob Ripma
  18. Your Facebook profile HERE.

Homework mentioned in the text.

  • Click here to take survey Is your birding your job or your business?
  • Use the Note-function of Facebook either as a blog or to import some stuff.
  • Enter your blog to Networked Blogs
  • Subscribe to a number of birding blogs
  • Place your Facebook url in the comment section.
  • Send friend request to all the birders that put their info there.

Last, but not least, here are the results of the previous survey. All 28 that answered the survey are on Facebook. On the other hand, those that are not on Facebook, possibly did not read the post anyway. I am surprised to see relatively large percentage do have both Twitter account and blog, but as I expected many are a bit inactive. It is revealing to see that there are many people who have Flickr accounts, but few people who actually use it much. Very few use social bookmarking. Is this because we can’t understand the benefits of it or because it is somewhat complicated? Nobody uses Reddit, why I didn’t bother to display the result. Click on the image below to see a larger picture.

If you still have not signed up for this workshop you may do so here:

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If you have a blog pseudonym or a birding related business or non-profit you need a Facebook Page!


Before jumping into today’s post and before we get more advanced, it would be great to learn something about your experience with social media. I put together this little survey. Click here to take survey. It couldn’t be easier. A couple yes or no questions. (Update Feb 25, 2010: Survey closed. Thanks for participating. The results are presented in in Day 4. )  But it will show me where you are on the Social Media ladder. Also, I would like to know what issues you want raised on the workshop. Nothing is written in stone. I have set 31 titles of the workshop, but the content can still be adjusted the way we want it. In fact I can even change the titles if necessary…so apart from today’s task, also fill in the survey and leave comments in the DisQus section below what you think should be treated in the workshop. Now over to today’s topic: Facebook Pages.

In the previous post I discussed the  Facebook profile and made quite a case that you should not use an acronym or company name  for your profile name.  Erik Hirschfeld made an interesting comment on that post that it may be a bit uncomfortable actually to have a birding company as a friend rather than a person, as every time that person posts on your wall, it looks like advertising for a business you in real life know little of. If you screwed up when signing up for Facebook, there is still hope. See below how to do it.

I made very recently a post about Profile, Pages and groups on Facebook on my blog. You should have a look at this before you proceed here, especially the part on pages. We shall treat groups in a later post, as well as how to manage lists. In spite of that post there are still more things to say about Pages.

You get your page on Pages are reserved for organizations, companies or people, such as musicians and artists, that need a public profile on Facebook. Contrary to your  Facebook profile and groups, you don’t have to be logged in to see the content on a Facebook page. In this sense a Facebook page could work as well as, if not better than, a blog or a web-page.   If you have a blog pseudonym, a birding related company or if you work as a bird guide, or if you are just incredibly vain you should get a fan page.


  • Searchable on search engines such as Google
  • 350 million users of Facebook.
  • It is easy to invite Facebook friends to your Fanpage on Facebook.
  • You can make a great Facebook widget to show on your blog and your web-site
  • With only 25 Fans you can get a vanity URL with your company name, slogan or keywords.
  • Viral marketing. Every time you can get someone to interact with you on your page it is reflected on their wall with a note that they have commented on your page. That doesn’t happen when someone visit your blog or web-page. Or even better they have the opportunity to share your content. Any business that does not have a Facebook page is loosing out.
  • Can be managed by more than one person


  • You can’t invite you fans to an event. When trying to send invitation only your profile friends show up.
  • When you message all your fans about an event or something else it does not come to their inbox, but rather in the updates, which is less intrusive…but then again maybe a bit too obscure.
  • If you don’t have a brand or a smart blog name, it shall look a bit odd to have a proper fan page for John Smith who maybe only has 39 friends on Facebook. Best to build up friends on Facebook first (remember to set your privacy levels a way that is comfortable for you).

It shows that it actually relatively difficult to communicate with your fans directly. These disadvantages are bound to change….and it is likely that there may be some pay for such a service.  I won’t go in deeper into what you can do with your page, as we are getting outside the realm for the regular birder and more towards needs for businesses. John Haydon is currently running a series on his blog called 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media. In this series there are some great tips for your Facebook Page.

I screwed up when I signed up for Facebook. I didn’t know this!

The basics says, you shall use your real name for profile, and your blog pseudonym or company name in a Facebook page. If you screwed up, you may want to consider to put it right, now.

This is what I would do!

  1. Create a Facebook (Fan) page from “fake” profile
  2. Post the new fanpage URL to  your wall so everyone knows what you are doing.
  3. Change you fake profile to your real name.
  4. Upload a picture of yourself to your real profile
  5. Send invitations to your current friends of  the now real profile to join your new page and explain why you do so.  Ask them to share relevant (non spam) stuff on your page wall. Ask them to interact. Ask them to invite their friends.
  6. Nourish your friends and your fans. Post, share and interact on both accounts.

If you already have a private profile in your own name, you can either kill the fake profile after you have invited all your friends from the fake profile to your private profile and the new page  or you can give the fake profile to a co-worker who still doesn’t have a Facebook account.

Congratulations. You now have a fan-page. If your business involve a few people, you can make some of your co-workers administrators as well. That way you share the burden of uploading new stuff.

By the way, I just did a little excersize and started a New Facebook Fanpage.

for which is a portal and database for birds in Peru.

And that is your excersize as well for today: Create a Facebook Page —-and invite all your friends.

UPDATE: Click the link for a more recent post about fake Facebook  profiles and Pages.

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference.

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Get control of your Facebook and engage

In the last post we talked about how essentially birders are very social and have been using pre-social media for quite some time.  Today I want to help you get control over your Facebook. You are not on Facebook yet? No problem, how to sign up and get started in the small updated Facebook introduction that can be found here.
I have already justified why I think Facebook is essential in these previous posts. I want to explore how the Facebook experience can be more effective. Today, we shall treat the basics (long) and over serious of shorter post other Facebook functions, such as groups, pages, notes and how to get more friends. I mention some of my tricks here, but I am interested in hearing about yours. Please comment freely. Remember this is a workshop – not a course.

Facebook profile and setting of privacy

Can’t stress enough that this is the most important part of your Facebook. It determines if birders want to become friends with you or not. Facebook, has recently changed the policy, so that it is possible to keep various parts open for full view for everyone on the web, not only those on Facebook.  For example, now it is possible to show your wall openly.  Technically it also means that what is written on the wall can be indexed by search engines if you keep no walls to your walls. This is good if you have any business aspect of your Facebook, but maybe less good if you and your friends write all sort of private stuff on your walls, rather than sending closed messages. Also make sure that birders can contact you. Showing the email is no danger of getting more automated spam as it is an image your email shown. It can not be read by robots.

There are two major areas you should work in detail. First is the Info section in the Profile. Secondly, in Settings there is the Privacy Settings. In the latter you can for instance decide whom you want to share your photo albums with. I share for instance all my Bird photos with everyone, but keep my family photos private.  How do you keep your privacy settings? It is not sure what works for me works for you.

Checklist (update):

  • Photo. We really want to see what you look like. You may play around with your profile picture and change it as often as possible – and maybe once in a while put a bird there for a couple of days. But a picture of you on your page is really what works best in the long run. I also recommend you NOT to put your kids or your high-school photo here – if you are to connect with basically unknown birders around the world. Again, we like to know what you look like and it will help you be recognised by your Facebook birding friend if you run in to each other in live at a birding site.
  • Your real name. You should not have your company name as your Profile. For your company you should start a page. More on this in a later post. In fact,  not using you real name in your profile is against Facebook rules. Your competition may just report you and you’d lose your account.
  • Personalize your Facebook page with a Vanity URL. Would you not rather be than a Well, now you can and contrary to belief it is free. Check out
  • Check your privacy settings. Share your birdphoto folders with everyone and I recommend also sharing your profile pictures with everyone, but set the Thanksgivings dinner available only to your close friends and your family.

The Facebook time-sink

Facebook can evolve to totally dominate your daily activity if you don’t watch out. You need to take it in, in slices and control your time.

Here are some time saving tips.

  • Use a Timer to control how much time you spend on Facebook Set 30 minutes and don’t surpass that
  • Avoid re-checking Facebook every time you get a notification (serious distraction and time spender), by turning all notifications off (in Settings in the top bar) and subscribe to the Excellent free N utshellMail service.  You get one email delivered per day with the birthdays, comments, feed, etc and you may comment directly from the mail. The service also works for Twitter and MySpace.
  • If you are short of time, disconnect the chat function temporarily.  Good strategy to employ for several other chat options such as Skype and Messenger as well, if you are working with deadlines.
  • Get Facebook on your phone, so you can work away some stuff while on the bus, in the line, waiting at a red-light and yes, I admit it – in the bathroom!!!  iPhone seems to  have the most seamless function. I use Blackberry and it is not as useful since I turned off the mail notifications, but I often use the browser on Blackberry to do some Facebooking, which works reasonable well. What phones do you use? Discuss below to the benifit of those wanting a to buy a phone to use Facebook.
  • UPDATE: Throw out the television. I did this 20 years ago.

Facebook apps

I don’t know about you but I find virtual gifts and games showing in my feed or on my profile wall are extremely annoying. Fortunately, you can opt out.  Previously (and I don’t know if this is the case still with Farmville and Mafia Wars), one used to be able to opt from all by just drag the cursor over the right corner and you get the option to hide the person who sent the annoying stuff or hide/block the app itself Update: Now, only Delete is there – see below how to block apps now. I usually just blocked the app. If you hide your friends you may as well de-friend them. I used to send some messages to the people sending me the apps, but there was always a risk they thought I was being rude and not grateful of receiving their spam virtual gifts.  So just block, delete, and occasionally post some wall post such as:  For the record, I don’t play Mafia Wars, I don’t collect flowers or sea urchins, and I don’t accept virtual flowers nor virtual beers. But I tell you this,  next time we meet in real life, I’ll buy you a real beer!

I would have included a screen shot what to do, but I have been too effective getting rid of apps, I guess, so I could not find an example. For the matter of completeness, maybe one of the readers would be willing to help – for a link!

Recently just before Christmas new greetings with Blingee. It looked pretty innocent at first and they looked like OK greetings to receive as it was Christmas. But when the same people were sending the Blingees almost every day to my profile wall, it became too much. What was worse. They did not have the block option in the right corner. I got a bit desperate, but soon figured out that I could just enter the app page by clicking  the name of the app below and then block the app from the app page. This is a strategy that always will work. I am not sure if this is the case for all apps you want to get rid of, but it will remain the best way to deal individually with apps. Update: This is the way it done now for Mafia Wars and other notes in your Live Feed.

Anyway, Grandma Mary explains it well and she is kind of funny too (in small portions!!)

Facebook purityFinally, the most effective way to get rid of apps is using a greasemonkey script for Mozilla Firefox called Facebook Purity. This works well if you always work from the same machine and in Firefox, but if you often change computers, the above method of individually blocking apps as you see them works best.

Facebook engagement with birders

There is no point of having a bunch of Facebook friends if you don’t engage with them. Although, it is said Facebook is all about you, it is and should be more about your engagement with others. Having mentioned all the time saving tips, you should still spend considerable time engaging with birders on Facebook. Some ways to engage are faster than others.

  • Live and News Feed. Check what your friends are up to and comment. The fast way of commenting although, it is a bit impersonal is marking with “Like”,  but it is better than nothing at all. If you can, try to leave a short comment
  • Events invitations. Always reply with yes, no or maybe. And leave a comment. You comment is potentially seen by everyone that has been invited to the event, so make sure you are not commenting with nonsense. As there may be a lot of people invited, there is a good chance to engage with other birders. Even if you don’t plan to take part in the event, you may want to respond maybe, so the you can still monitor for replies on your comment. If you answer no, the event disappears from your event calendar. If you like the event, make sure you share it on your wall.
  • Birthdays show in the sidebar of  Home. Always wish a your Facebook friends happy birthday, even if you don’t know them well.  Open several tabs in your browser by holding Ctrl while clicking each you still have not greeted. Then write on the wall of that person. The simplest is just: Happy Birthday, Thomas!! or whatever name.. If you can add something more personal, but it is not really necessary. It is a manual birthday wish, and a good level of engagement.  If you have more friends than you actually know on FB this strategy makes sure that at least once a year you will engage with each. If you are away for a day or two, go back and check past days in the by clicking “See All”, select Birthdays here and you will see all the past birthdays you missed.
  • Answer those who write you and reply to all comments on your post.

What should I post on Facebook?

Status updates can be personal or funny. And you can send links. Of course you should share your blogpost and your photos on your wall. It is after all your wall! Most Facebook users (including myself at times) are far to occupied sharing their own stuff only.  But also try to share more of the cool birding stuff  you come across. Not only are you giving content to those who are your friends on FB, but you can also promote some your FB friends. This will make you look like a much nicer person.  Make sure always to give credit to the person who shared with you in the first place.  And don’t forget to share your friends events. They will be very grateful!

Facebook and birders

Facebook is perhaps the most important  of the non-birding specific social media platforms.  Here is a question for the discussion below: Is it or will it be the MOST IMPORTANT social media platform period? That is; More important than Surfbirds, Birdguides, Birdchat, Avibase, Birdforum and other birder specific web-pages? Or is there something else around the corner that will take its place?


  • Look over privacy settings
  • Check that your info on your profile is accurate. Remember you don’t have to fill in all fields.
  • Post some birding links you picked up today….such as this one…on your wall.

If you still have not signed up for the workshop, which will give you an email notice when there is a new post, please do so below. Set up a folder in your mail program to which you import each delivery to have it handy for future reference.

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