This video is on my wall. I lost a Facebook Friend.

If you are still not on Facebook read this Facebook Tutorial first.

Last Sunday after burning midnight oil and already Monday 1 AM, and all prude should have been in bed a long time, I posted this link to a funny commercial on my Facebook profile. Result: I lost a follower, who wrote me and said it was disgusting, and consequently de-friended me. Not only that, she will use the competition when eventually coming to Peru birding. Facebook message Did I do wrong? Did she over-react? I think it comes down to how we use Facebook differently. I should not be surprised, because I have invited birders from all over to become Facebook friends with me. If you are a birder and we share some Facebook friends you may already have received a Facebook friend request from me. I believe that building a birder’s network on Facebook is generally a good thing. It could become like a giant Birdingpal network. A tremendous resource if you plan a birding trip somewhere. You get an insight what birders are up to, even if it is not exactly birding all the time, but I like that as well, because it makes each and everyone even more interesting. I have an open mind and I am not easily offended. I will speak my own mind on my Facebook profile, but I am usually careful to disclose if a link contains explicit language. The few self-inflicted rules I play try to play by are the following:

  • No explicit language from myself. I may link to explicit language (remember I like Punk and Hip-Hop) with a disclaimer.
  • No negative thoughts. Why bother friends with my sorrows?
  • No Facebook or Twitter when drunk! (Rarely nowadays, but it is a good rule I hope I remember if I get really pissed)
  • No compromising pictures of myself or others. (That is actually a general Facebook rule. You may get sued if you post something compromising.)

But still, there may be things that don’t match with all birders, so I am really not surprised to lose a Facebook friend by posting a sexist commercial on my wall. As I indicated in my Facebook mail to “Sawwhets’s New”, it may be better for some users, only to let your closest become Friends and connect with other birders through groups and fan-pages. This post is meant to guide you through the differences between Profile, Page and Group on Facebook.

Facebook Profile

This is the first step. You automatically get a profile when you open your Facebook account. This account SHOULD be in your own name. Profile is for individuals. Real people and with their real names. You are not allowed to use pseudonyms or your company names. (Watch out, Sawwhet! You may lose your account!!). Originally, Facebook meant this space to be completely private. That is, something you only share with those that you are close friends with. But with the expansion of Twitter, more and more people are quite lenient in whom they share “friendship” with. And Facebook does not seem to mind too much. You get suggestions by Facebook whom to connect with often indicated by how many friends you have in common. As mentioned above, many birders like myself have found it an extremely useful network builder connecting with other birders through Facebook. It is more engaging than groups and most pages (more on these topics below). Let’s take a look on some features in Profile.


Facebook Although, most Facebook users are navel gazers, looking only at their own wall, the most interesting feature of Facebook is the more Twitterlike Home News Feed where the stream of updates from your friends is showing. It is here you make discoveries – like a great link you may want to share with your other friends. It is here you interact with your friends – Make a comment! It is here you lay the foundation to become a great person on Facebook.  You don’t want to become one of the 12 most annoying types of facebookers, do you? (I am sure at times I have been perceived as all 12 of these at the same time…but one learns, right?…Still a “friend padder”, though. I admit!!)Facebook2

In my News Feed there are hardly any apps for quizzes, games, mafia wars, etc, because the moment I see them I hide the application (pass the cursor over the upper right corner of the annoying app feed to hide it). I simply don’t have time for those games. Feeds

But there is more cool stuff on Home. You can for instance group your Friends in lists and only get the feed from a particular list to show. See how I have made my lists here to the left. You may have a list for birders, one for family, one for close friends, one for past friends, one for people who share things you enjoy, etc. Click Friends in the bar to make your lists. When you have created all the lists you want, come back to the Home page and click More in the side column to visualize all lists. When all lists are visualized you can sort them as you wish (in the More mode) and put you favorite list on top. That way, next time you open your Facebook you shall find updates only of your favorite friends to start with. (Hint, hint Sawwhet!).

Also on Home in the right column, you find the suggestions of people to befriend. Make sure people you ask to become your friends really share your hobby. If you have many friends in common who happen to all be birders  it should be safe to ask to become firends. Also, always send an introductory message with the friend request. The maximum number of friends any one person is allowed to have is 5000, although you can only send a message to 20 friends per delivery.
Additionally on the Home page are highlight of links and photos shared by your friends, an events calendar and a list of upcoming birthdays.

Profile – it is all about me!

All your activity will show here. Anyone looking at your page will expect to see lots of stuff about you on the Profile Wall. But still, be somewhat careful. Be sure you share stuff that is not always about yourself. Share some videos, or music that you like, bird photographs, and links. The links can and should be your blogposts, but you will become a hero if you also share blog posts of blogging friends and other cool stuff that you find on the net that your friends will enjoy. If you are using the many apps of games and quizzes on Facebook they will also show here, and your friends that do not participate in the games can not opt out not seeing these when they come by for a visit. If these friends reacts as I do, when I see a page full of apps, they will leave quickly!


Anyone can start a group. I am sure you already belong to some groups. I have started three groups. Groups are communities centered around a subject that you have in common with many others

On these spaces members can upload pictures and links. In fact the photo galleries is the strongest feature. In spite of relatively high member numbers in these groups they lead a quite quiet existance. Very few comments, few discussions. I think one problem is that group activity does not show in the News Feed. If it did there would be more activity. There may be a way to activate this, but I still have not found it. Please advise if you know how.

UPDATE: Recently Facebook gave groups a new layout. The first group page is now more wall like and very inviting for leaving comments. Both discussion topics and Photos are posted on the wall as well as comments in general or links. This is great news and have kicked life into many dormant groups.

As a group owner I can send out direct facebook notifications to the group members. One of the most common reasons why people leave groups is abusive use of administrator mailings. As admin/group owner, don’t use this feature more than once or twice per month. People will be less annoyed. There is no limit in how many members a group can have. I am sure some people have thought that you could create a group called something like ” I bet I can find 1 000 000 people who want to save the rain forest”…and then send them all invitations to “help” an NGO that the same administrator runs. Well, you can’t, 5000 people is the maximum you can direct updates to. (Sorry spammers!!). Large organizations that aspire more than 5000 members should looks at Pages rather than groups (see below).

The strongest feature apart from photos (and the new wall) is the events calendar, which gives incentive to interaction. As group owner you can create an event that mobilize people to become more active in the group. Every member will receive the event invitation. More tips on how to reviving a dormant Facebook group can be found in the excellent summery 5 ways of reviving a fading Facebook group by Rebecca Leaman on John Haydon’s blog.

Facebook Pages.

Also known as Fan Pages. This is the place for your company, your pseudonym or personal name if you are a famous birder, singer, actress, hip-hop artist or just a big Social Media guru. You can only make a page with a brand you own or have the rights to use. The Page function is very much like the profile. You can make status updates and send links on the Page Wall, just as on your profile with these showing in the Newsfeed to your fans. This makes it easier for your fans to detect your activity and they will interact. Facebook pages can be a bit difficult to find, because they don’t show on your profile very prominently. There are advertsing options for companies and such efforts can be very powerful as the advertising on Facebook is very targeted. The cheapest way to get fans to your Page is to first get Facebook Friends to your profile and then invite them to the Fan Page of your brand, band or whatever. If your profile or group really is your brand, there are also possibilities to change them into a Page and take your friends with you. Contact Facebook from the help page. I post news about our trips on the Kolibri Expeditions – Birding Peru Page. Blogposts about Social Media and most family stuff go to my Facebook profile only and birding posts go to both the Fanpage and my profile. A good link about Profile, Pages and Groups on Facebook is provided by John Haydon. He also gives many other good links on the subject.

The most important one single feature of Facebook Pages is that they are open to view by all public (No need to be Facebook member to see it) and thus indexed by search engines.  Anyone caring about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your main webpage and your brand, knows that this is extremely important.

End note.

Facebook, thus gives 3 different ways to interact. There should not be any problems to connect with people you don’t want to share your details with. You may get repetitive friend requests from people you share the same interest with whom you may want to be connected with regarding birds, but not share other stuff. From the above you have learnt that you can either accept and just adjust your privacy and list settings or delete the friend request and connect in groups or on pages.

Want to learn more? Sign up for the RSS stream of this blog, our biweekly newsletter (see sign-up box in the side column) and/or the groups and pages linked to above. And if you haven’t yet joined Facebook: What are you waiting for?

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Your favorite Tweet Club is back.

Twitter club for birders. We need a better logo! Could anyone please come up with something?

Twitter club for birders. We need a better logo! Could anyone please come up with something?

Not as long delay this time, but still delayed. I hope to be able to get the tweetclub #006 out by next Thursday Oct 1, so please submit your contributions in the comment section below before Tuesday Sep 29 . See earlier tweet-club postings to understand the rules and how this works.

I am having somewhat difficult time to get enough participants in the tweet-club in spite of the overwhelming results. Some of you may think it comes off as a bit spammy, but in reality for those of us on Twitter who follow more than 100 people have a hard time to actually see all things that are relevant. Therefore, highlighting blogposts about birds that have been selected by the individual birdblogger and additionally have past my “filter” (strictly commercial posts or non-bird related posts will not pass) guarantees excellent reading and posts you don’t want to miss. You also have a chance to spread your blog to people who don’t regularly would read your blog. I have around 4600 followers on Twitter.  Quite obviously not all are birders, but if we could provide interesting blogposts about birds that have lots of wow-factor in them (I repeat great photos, something very funny, a great story, something useful, a top 1o list, a tutorial etc have the chance to reach far more people that you usually reach) then we can also engage more people to maybe become birders and ultimately active guardians of nature.

Facebook-club for Bird Bloggers.

I have talked about this idea in previous posts. Now it is time to introduce it here as a fixed strategy. Some explaining: From the past tweet-club results I have picked those that got over 100 clicks and presented these on my Facebook (some 1800 Facebook Friends – mostly birders). Unfortunately, it I can’t measure my out-going links from Facebook (if it is possible – let me know!), but it ought to be significant. If you have a great story or photo it may even be re-Facebooked by some of friends. For a specialized hobby like ours and with the relatively few birders on Twitter, Facebook reaches more birders. Twitter can reach more people and especially people that may have a beginning interest in nature watching. Facebook reaches the already converted souls and the friends of friends. The two compliment each other. It is therefore logical to take the Tweet-club also to Facebook.

A few things to think about.
1. By publishing links to other bloggers, you will appear less navel-gazing and self promoting. Sure, Facebook in itself is a self-promoting media, but your Facebook friends will love you even more if you not only promote yourself.
2. But, don’t overdo it. Only share things you truly like.
3. Share the link only once or at the most twice if you posted at an odd hour and get very few responses.  Since Facebook is an mutual opt-in social media system it means that most those who are following you as Facebook Friends are truly interested in you and contrary to Twitter will read almost every update.

Newbies on the Tweetclub

We have some new participants for this weeks tweet-club. I have chosen posts from their blogs since they either did not supply a specific blogpost, it was not about birds or it contained a stream that can’t be seen in some countries. Sorry to these bloggers for that inconvenience.

Here are the tweets you should retweet (and of course read and comment).

  • RT @Journowl The cheaper sex ……for Imperial Eagle https://bit.ly/62uWo
  • RT @JKissnHug Very confident Sandhill Cranes were raising young in popular Michigan park  https://bit.ly/Zzceg
  • RT @SoaringFalcon1 The burrowing owl is threatened in California. Larry Jordan gives all the background.  https://bit.ly/4zbY24 (had 104 hits prior to tweetclub launch)
  • RT @irenapuella Great shots of Asian Owls https://bit.ly/3sJcbt (had 16 tweets for this link before launch.
  • RT @ falconmountain Pallid Harrier in Finland. Good flight photos. https://bit.ly/3AP6Fk
  • RT @NC_N8 Everyone has heard about the Christmas Bird Count! What a bout the Fall Bird Count? https://bit.ly/27oxtv
  • RT @2birderstogo Nothing like a jay to lift your spirits and cure your ills. https://bit.ly/fpqjj
  • RT @kolibrix Do you want to birdwatch in Manu, Peru and support the indigenous communities get into eco-tourism? https://bit.ly/OdIiZ
  • RT @LadyWoodpecker Last day of summer. What to do? Go birding on the shore of course https://bit.ly/myPv1

I also had contributions from BirdExplorers and Dani in Catalunya, but since I got no twitter account from neither, I can not include them. Please submit again next week.

Last tweet club results.

The results from tweet club 4 were a bit more modest than usual, but both long delivery time of the blogpost as well as rather few participants gave lower numbers.

@SoaringFalcon1 https://bit.ly/2Dr2W 36 clicks
@kolibrix https://bit.ly/25Qeo 59 clicks
@DawnFine https://bit.ly/M4C0K 64 clicks
@birdfreak https://bit.ly/FGKrE 66 clicks
@journowl htp://bit.ly/9ryLS 73 clicks
@gwendolen https://bit.ly/34XjO 85 clicks

Gwendolen’s Vulture call got most clicks.

Leave contributions for next weeks tweet-club. Contributions by Tuesday, por favor.

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First Birdbloggers Tweet Club

Tweetclub-AdamHey, we’ve done it. This is a follow-up on my post on July 8 announcing the tweet club.

There are 14 birdbloggers tweetclub posts this 1st week. Starting with a late start. I won’t go into why this was not published Monday, as promised as that would fill on other blog post. Let me just summarize that we are dealing with high season birding tours in Peru and that my wife is almost due to have a baby any day now. My obligations are elsewhere, as you probably can appreciate. I did however, send off the first batch of tweets last night as some of you may have seen. So the ball is rolling. Be sure to read this long post to the end, because we shall take this idea to Facebook as well.

Birdbloggers Tweet Club rules

  1. Commit to retweet at least 10 of the tweets below.
  2. If you can, pls retweet up to 3 times over the week on different days and times.
  3. Read the blogs you retweet. Remember, that the blogs you retweet are your personal recommendations.
  4. Consider re-writing the tweets in a personal way, if my interpretation is not in your liking or if you want a personal touch in your re-tweet.
  5. You may just retweet a seed tweeted by someone else if you prefer.
  6. You may or may not include the @reply of the web-owner in the tweet. It is not technically a retweet of course just copying the below and you are not re-tweeting an original message to Twitter, so you may well take credit for your first seed yourself. This also gives more space for your followers to retweet and maintain your credit.
  7. I have decided not to include a hashtag for the tweetclub. You can use hashtags such as #ecomonday, #birdsaturday, #birding etc in the tweet to give it more exposure.

Concerns and tips

Dawn Fine raised an interesting point. How can we do this without becoming spammers on Twitter?  I think it is only an issue for those followers you may have that  follow less than 50 people and 14 of those followers are the same birdbloggers here.  In most cases many tweets will be lost in the Twitter stream. You reader may not see the tweet the first time it is sent. Many “retweets” make sure everyone that could be interested in reading the post will get exposed to it. What is more, your post will be seen by a lot of people that are not following you presently, and this is the main benefit when birding blogs go viral.  In any case, we should be aware of the potential risk of coming off as spammers and raise a flag if you notice it becoming a problem.

The main recommendation though is that you are honest to yourself. You shouldn’t retweet something that you have not read. Retweeting is like recommending, so therefore the posts you are re-tweeting are seen as your personal recommendations.

Don’t retweet the exact message here below if you are not in agreement with the article or if you don’t like it.

This could also teach us to write more interesting blogposts. If you want readers to your blog, you have to understand that you are not writing for your personal joy only, but for your reader. This will make a shift in what you write about. Soon you find yourself writing posts of stuff that you think will interest a lot of people. Those posts will have a natural place here on the tweet club. If you find after this exercise that your post gets less click than the others, this may well be a hint to you. Don’t take it personal, but let it be an inspiration to write more interesting posts to your readers.

Twitter is also about reciprocals. Retweeting somebody’s blogpost is a much better way of saying thank you for a Retweet, than just publicly say thanks.

How to read 14 blogposts in 15 minutes.

Another point Dawn raises is how on earth shall anyone have time to read all these posts. We are all very busy. Most browsers today allow you to open multiple tabs. Click on your browser program to get a totally new window and open this blog post there. Then click on one bit.ly link one after the other while holding the ctrl key pressed. It should be no problem open 10 to 15 tabs at one go. Then spend up to 1 minute on each post. This should be enough to see if you like the post or not.
What bloggers should try to remember to get retweeted is:

  • a good photo to start with that catches the eye. The old saying “a photo is worth a 1000 words” applies in blogging.
  • a very catchy title
  • good headlines for the sub-sections in the blog.

Does retweeting work?

These were the posts that had most clicks of those that I retweeted in the last I and the Bird #104, which appeared in two parts. The first part described the idea of using twitter as a means to spread the word about the blog carnival and the individual posts that were presented in a tweetable fashion similar to what we are doing here.  The second part also included a photo from each blog and some statistics from the first twitter session. I retweeted all posts twice.  The most popular posts got these many hits because they were retweeted by many others.  This is what we want to achieve also with the tweet club. Here are the results as of today from the I and the bird post.

  1. Have you ever seen 50000 Purple Martins falll from the sky? Check out the video on this site. https://bit.ly/GdMEN
    Tweeted first at 06.00 July 8: 102 clicks.
  2. I bet you never seen a Yellow-breasted Grosbeak. It’s not in the book, yet here is a photo. https://bit.ly/3MbcA4
    Tweeted first at 21.20 July 8: 94 clicks.
  3. Here is the punkiest of all chicks. I don’t know if this is cute or ugly. What do you think? https://bit.ly/U7QGJ
    Tweeted first at 09.00 July 8: 91 clicks.
  4. Barred Eagle-owl takes a monkey in Singapore. Impressive! https://bit.ly/hTzF4
    Tweeted first at 18.50 July 7: 82 clicks.
  5. The puffin is the Toucan of the Northern seas with that colorful beak. Check these smashing photos. https://bit.ly/wYwbq
    Tweeted first at 08.00 July 8: 70 clicks.

Two things to think about when studying the content of the above links. You may notice that I seldom use the titles of the original blog post. When tweeting it is useful to use tricks to catch the attention in the tweetstream. Use big words and superlatives when appropriate. I have no idea if they were 50000 Purple Martins but they were a hell of a lot, and the number sounds appropriate to what I could see, even though they may have been 20000 or perhaps 70000.  But it is obvious that the tweet title worked. Think about this when posting your next blogpost to twitter.
Secondly, what role do you think the photos played  to get visitors to the post?  Certainly post 3-5 ranked this high due to the photos provided.

Tweetclub tweets #001

Here are the 14 participants of this week.

  • RT @docforestal Many bird photos and a checklist of the birds seen at Moosehead Lake, Maine https://bit.ly/B0nvn
  • RT @gonolek This is  great literate memoir blogpost from Birdman partly about birding on Scilly  in late 70s.  https://bit.ly/11OL6p
  • RT @birdingdude Sheer madness or daring run? A twitch, as the Brits would say.  Mississippi Kite in NY https://bit.ly/ZT4Au
  • @DawnFine I can’t sleep at night. Flying squirrel and Whip-Poor-Will making too much noise. https://bit.ly/vIaxU
  • @journowl Endangered world’s heaviest parrot goes home https://bit.ly/kakapo (@journowl provided the link and it had 18 clicks prior to me posting the first tweet)
  • @soaringfalcon1: Great pics of Red-shouldered Hawk  and a video to learn its call.  https://bit.ly/3UTZ5k
  • @wrenaissance Slide show of  the cutest Barn Swallow chicks begging for food.  https://bit.ly/Qj855
  • @patbumstead It’s a new blog but will be a big one when it grows up! Canada’s National Bird.  https://bit.ly/I7KOF
  • @HastyBrook Bloggers and Tweeters meets Birds and Beers in Minnesota!! https://bit.ly/jZaTy
  • @babw Impressive digiscoping results from https://bit.ly/Dkp5E from Oregon
  • @jeffgyr: Want some good Karma? Join Jeff saving Red Knot by flipping Horseshoe Crabs. https://bit.ly/ar1OJ
  • @VickieHart Great photoblog about Hummingbird banding.  https://bit.ly/RfMpr
  • @Birdfreak Recommended books for birders – Birdfreak does a lot of birdbook reviews. Here is a summery. Check it out  https://bit.ly/1gRgem
  • @kolibrix The mightiest of all Eagles. The  Harpy Eagle.   https://bit.ly/UjqOx This link had 88 hits prior to participating here.

I have added the Twitter handle here. I suggest you follow each, but please note that you don’t have to include the handle in the tweet you do, as I explained above.  By following you can also check whether each fulfill the commitment! (Devilish, isn’t it?).

UPDATE: One great service to use for the re-tweets so it becomes less spammy. Spread them out in time with programmed tweets with Tweet Later. This is a great little app that is free of charge. You can schedule your tweets with this app. It is a great way to collect things you want to share for #ecomonday and #birdsaturday – and naturally a way to retweet birdbloggers tweet-club posts.

Why are all the links bit.ly?

Yes, I changed your links! Bit.ly gives a great tool to see how many clicks this exercise actually gives each and every blog. Just copy the bit.ly link and put it in your browser followed by a plus like this: https://bit.ly/1gRgem+  Cool, huh? This way we shall see which participants are getting most traffic.

Where to go from here? What about a Facebook blog-sharing club?

The other day, I came across Jeff Gordon’s blog about flipping horse shoe crabs, that he shared on his facebook wall. I had 12 people interacting directly on my wall, so that is immediately 12 people sent to Jeff’s blog  and there were probably more as not all those that clicked on the link may have put a comment or “like this” for the link.
Facebook is more effective in getting regular readers to your blog, because they are your friends, but they would be constantly the same people visiting. If you want to reach beyond that maybe we can use the same Twitter club strategy on Facebook. Well almost the same…

…Facebook is more closed than Twitter, so it is necessary to be more restricted in what you post. There are many of your best Facebook friends that will be reading every line you send so you don’t want to spam them with send every blog their way. Best to pick your favorites. On Sunday, I am going to pick the five most popular of the above posts and put them on my Facebook wall during the following week. You may do the same or you could just pick a few of those that you like.

There is an app on Facebook called NetworkedBlogs that many nature bloggers are signed up to, but very few actually use to share blogs of each other. The app is good for publishing your own blog to your wall so your friends see it and it does give a very easy share option. Be sure to use this share mechanism if anything interesting comes your way.  The app is a little bit flawed I think, because when you look at your own page in the app, it would be good to actually right here get the latest feed  from the blogs you follow, not only a list of the same blogs.

On Facebook are also the group of Birders who blog, tweet and chirp and the page Natureblognetwork. It is well worth to belong to both, but actual link sharing as of fetching links to put on your own wall is not part of the strategy.

In summery, it should work well to bring this experiment also to Facebook and it does not really compete with current blog promotion on Facebook, but rather would compliment well – as long as it is made in a moderate fashion.

Hosting the Tweet club in the future.

I like to host yet one or two more weeks to get the idea into form, but then turn over the hosting on a rotational manner such as I and the bird. Volunteers speak up! For

Twitter image by creative Commons lisence on Flickr.  Photo credit: Adam Gutierrez
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  • Here is a thought: If I could get all my clients on Facebook and Twitter , they would see when I’m spending too much time. Back to work! #
  • With Luciana at the playground. Saturday=Daddy &Luciana Day. #

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Two days ago, I posted a blog called “Facebook for birders“, which immediately became one of my best scoring blogs in just 24 hours. The last 9 months I have together with Facebook also used a Social Media thingee called Twitter. There are still relatively few birders on Twitter, but it has all the potential in the world to become huge among birders. This post is the first part of two, that explains why. Jump right in!

What the hell is Twitter, anyway?

Is it really useful? So you joined Facebook, but maybe you like to keep it more personal and only include the people you actually know quite well as your Facebook friends.  Why should anybody except your closest ones want to see photos of your kids grow, meet your parents and grandparents, your aunt and uncles? None of their friggin business, is it? You are OK, because this is exactly what Facebook had in mind originally. Facebook does not want you to make 100s of friend invitations per day to people you don’t know – and you will get a warning for misusing Facebook if you send out this many.
But let’s pretend you nevertheless would like to share with as many birders as possible your bird photos and tales of your latest observations. Are there other platforms? You have may have a blog or you may upload your bird-pictures on Flickr. Most of these observations you made during an out of state birding tour, so your local list server will not allow your postings, as the list is suppose to reflect birding within the state or the county.  There is BirdChat of course, but some people will object if you do too many blog post referrals to BirdChat. You would like to reach out to more birders, so you can tell anyone that wants to listen about your latest endeavors, wherever they are. Imagine you could tell hundreds of birders – “hey my blog packed with bird photos from my latest Peru trip is now online”. You would only need a short line like this. Actually, when you think about it, there are a lot of things you could express in just a short line.

The basics of Twitter.

This is where Twitter comes in. Send a message of max 140 characters. Sending short notes regarding your blog or uploaded photos is the first use of Twitter for birders. Before taking this any further, lets watch a video that explains how Twitter works.

This video made by Commoncraft is one of the most watched videos on the internet with over 2.6 million viewers. Note that you can change the settings for subtitles in any language. As you can see in the video, you can twitter about just anything. At first glance the whole thing looks very trivial.

The first reaction usually is:
“I don’t get it. What is all the fuss about?”

Is it really that interesting to learn that someone is having coffee? Can this kind of small talk really have any practical use what-so-ever? Apparantly so, because there are lots of professional that have seen a great potential with Twitter. Rather than providing just trivial messages, the pros look to provide stuff that can be useful to you. It may be news or tips of cool links that will make life easier for you or satisfy a need or demand. Some news can even be read on twitter before it gets out through regular media. The pros who tweet about how to best make use of social media or give tips about Facebook or blogging, have several thousands and even tens of thousands of followers. Twitter is growing very fast and it is clear that it can be very valuable for businesses and entrepreneurs.

If you are birder, many of these small messages will be about birds, and maybe now the whole thing makes a little more sense.

Let’s look at some examples!

Here are some tweets from the people I follow and some tweets that I have made today. I am kolibrix in case you did not know.

smido: One in ten birds could die out as Britain hots up https://bit.ly/TDQVF
BirdGuides: @ratcliffe Welcome back Roger. Did you see anything good? Was it fun??
ratcliffe: @birdingbev Was on Lanzarote, the Canary Islands, writing a travel feature on its amazing volcanos and the artist Cesar Manrique.
Scobleizer: Liked “Facebook’s Thiel Explains Failed Twitter Takeover – BusinessWeekhttps://ff.im/1i2dT
Kolibrix: Inserted some screenshots kindly provided by “wren” in the “Facebook for birders” post. Looks much nicer now! https://bit.ly/YS8VX
Kolibrix: Reading a great article: Social Media for Business: The Dos & Don’ts of Sharing https://ad.vu/yp9y
Kolibrix: RT @judykarwacki Guyana Launches World’s First Good Practices Checklist for Birding Tours https://bit.ly/KI8Jc

Some explanations.

Any post starting with @name is a reply to that person.
Any post starting with RT @name is a re-tweet – a forward message to the community of something you have picked up, but maybe some of your twitter friends may not have.
There is also the option to send direct messages to anyone that follows you. Such message is syntaxed D @name

How do I find other birders on twitter?

Though you can use also just the interface on twitter.com to make searches, it is better to use a tool like Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck can be downloaded for free to your computer. With tweetdeck you can group the people you follow into for example, family and birders – and you can make a continous searches for keywords like birding or birdwatching.  Anytime anyone among the 4 million people that use Twitter, make a tweet containing the keyword it will show in the time line of Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck also gives the possibility to creat short url:s as you see in the examples above so it is easier to send links and still have room for a message in the 140 character limit. You find the most popular applications on https://twitter.com/downloads and still more apps on https://twitter.com/downloads: some that can be used on your cell phone to check your tweets through either SMS, email or IM. This opens up for an extremely useful device for birders as you can tweet, the same second you are observing a bird, through your telephone.

Do enter https://twitter.com and open an account today. State that you are a birder in your profile, that way you make sure that other birders find you. If you want to follow me you find me at https://twitter.com/kolibrix/

In part 2 of “Twitter for birders” I will tell you how something called hashtags will revolutionize birding and make all bird alert services obsolete in a near future.

Art by Creative Carrot under creative common license on Flickr
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Facebook for birders – an introduction

About a week ago I wrote a message to BirdChat email list asking about Social Media that birders use apart from Facebook and Twitter. Did not get any reply on this question, but I got another question instead.

“I’m new to facebook. How can I connect with birders in it?”

I prepared a (quite long) reply to explain how Facebook can be beneficial to birders and sent it off to BirdChat. Thinking about it, it does make a good topic for a blogpost.
First of all I must thank Wren for providing all the screen shots of for this article. She is one of the people behind Nature Blog Network. NBN will feature this manual in their blogging toolbox. I am overwhelmed for this offer. You find Wren’s fine blogging at Wrenaissance Reflections. I suggest you pay her visit!

Manual to Facebook for birdwatchers

I know there is a lot of people out there who are a bit wary of using the Facebook and have a hard time understanding what it is good for. The most frequent comment I get is: “Sounds like a complete waste of time to me!”

First of all, it must be said that Facebook can be used in many ways. You can keep in contact with your closest friends, but you can also use it in a broader sense to connect with other birders in your area, where you are going to spend your holiday etc. There are several groups you can belong to or you may start a group yourself. (There are several groups similar to birdchat within Facebook, to which you can also upload pictures, movies and suggest favourite web-pages).

Info how to set up a Facebook account in books – for free

If you have not yet set up a Facebook account there is great information on “how to” in these manuals available from Amazon. Click any of the two pics below and Look Inside

Facebook for dummiesFacebook the missing manual

UPDATE: Jan 13, 2010. The For Dummies title is surprisingly updated with edition from November 2009.
You can look inside the books on Amazon on the option on the left on top of the picture of the book. Read the index of each book and then “search” for the page you want to read. I am sure you shall find how to open a Facebook account and how to set your privacy levels. You shall find a lot of good tips in doing so, and it will help to get you started.

You can use this technique to look into a lot of books on Amazon without buying…!!  I posted a post on my blog about how to use Amazon.com to read all types of books about social media (a collective term for Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Flickr, etc).  DISCLAIMER: Just so you know…I have used affiliate links to Amazon through-out. If you do decide to buy, you will be supporting this blog with around 4% of your purchase for beer money ;-D

I also posted a blogpost regarding Google Books, which is another online service that makes it is also possible to read substantial parts of books online. There is a link to my collection of Social Media books on Google Books.

Enter www.facebook.com now and start signing up. It is easy.

What about privacy on Facebook?

Privacy issues are often the one thing that worries new users the most, and learning how to set  the settings help a lot. If you are to share with a lot of birders who are not your “real friends”, then you may be careful what you put on your facebook. In my case, having a birding related business, it is in my interest to connect with as many birders as possible (birders talk with birders and if the word “birds in Peru” comes up…there is good chance my name will be mentioned), and therefore on my account you shall find all types of contact info. This may not be your cup of tea, so you may want to set your privacy differently.
As a result – and I guess it is from my generous privacy settings –  the other day I got a mail from an old girlfriend that I have not heard from in 30 years!! (I have not decided if I should reply. I didn’t reply). It shows you, that there may be things you might want to leave in the past. On the other hand, I have connected with some friends I went to High School with…which I do enjoy a lot.

To connect with other birders on Facebook.

First of all use the Facebook feature that imports all your contacts.  This could be either contacts in your Outlook or similar, or your contacts on your email account in Gmail, Yahoo, Msn, Aol, etc.

You will have to give your email password in order for Facebook to import. There should be no risk in doing so, because it is an all automated encrypted process. However, if you feel uneasy anyway, enter your email account and temporarily change your password, and let Facebook upload your contacts with this new password and then set it back afterwards.

To start with connect only with those contacts that have a Facebook account. Later you can add invitations to those contacts that still lack Facebook and you will have to go through the same process you just did. But, you can opt out from this option to start with. Get used to Facebook, before you start sending invitations to join Facebook. When you do start sending invitations, do select each contact manually and don’t click on add all, because it is likely that you will be adding the email of many of the birding list servers you belong to. You can imagine what it would look like on your birdlist server if everyone was sending out such messages! Nobody likes spam.

You may use facebook’s search funtion to see of long lost friends are on facebook. You be surprised how many are.  You find the seach box in the upper right corner. If you search for such a rare name as Gunnar Engblom it is quite likely you will get few hits and can readily find the one you are looking for.

Facebook automatically suggests people you may know, as FB can see when you have “friends in common”. Add those you know. Others you may want to add if just because they are birders.Click on the picture and click on “add as friend”. Before you send off the friend request CLICK ON “Add a personal message…” and explain in a short note why you are inviting the person as a Facebook friend.

Chances are that he/she will accept your request if you just state that you want to get to know other birders.

In Facebook there are a number of groups.

Naturally, you can join up with as many groups as you like. These groups tend not to be as active as you average mailing groups, but are still nice to sign up to. You can scroll through the members in any group and check if there is anyone you know, share many friends with or anyone in your area you would like to become “Facebook friends” with. This often leads to more active interaction as the news from the people you are friends with show in your timeline, while the groups you will actually have to enter one by one to see the new posts.

What if you get Facebook invitations from people to become friends with people you don’t know?

I usually only accept from those I get a personal message from. If there is no message, I check the profile of the person and if it is obvious he/she is also a birder I usually accept. I usually don’t accept those that are not using their own names, and especially not those that instead of their real name use their business name. For all I know, that is just spamming.

I don’t want to be friends with you!

If you don’t want to be friends with someone, you just don’t answer, delete the message or better still, block the person in settings. The last is probably the best, and I would prefer people who do not want to become Facebook friends with me to use this option, as it assures them that they will not get a repetitive invitations. It is pretty harmless to ask someone to become your Facebook friend, but it can be annoying to get more than one invitation if you have already declined. The point is that the person asking will not get any notice message saying that you declined, and therefore will it be difficult for that person to know if he has made an invitation previously.

People will not get mad with you for not accepting them as friends. The original purpose of Facebook was to connect only with your true friends….though birders have found a wider use for it. You also have the option to write the person asking you to become Facebook friends, telling him/her that you use Facebook only for private use.

Thus, denying someone access as a friend is like saying …this network is only for my close friends and family…which obviously is a very good reason.

Don’t put anything on Facebook, you would not put on your friend’s fridge

Even with a selected number of friends, you may want to be careful exactly what you put on your Facebook. As a rule, don’t expose anything that you would not put on your friend’s fridge!  Also know that nobody is allowed to put up compromising pictures of anyone against their will. In fact, this could be a very good strategy to get rid of any pseudo-friends and a get-rich-quickly scheme. Join your pseudo-friends at a party and get completely drunk. Next day after seeing your drunken face on their Facebook – you sue them!

Applications on Facebook

There are a number of interesting applications on Facebook. There is even one for keeping your lifelist of birds called “Birds and Birdwatching”. This is a great little app, that will soon gain more and more followers.

There are also a lot of applications that are a complete waste of time….I am not on many of these…and I still don’t get it, why I should accept to receive virtual flowers to my virtual garden – in the “(Lil) Green Patch” application. Lots of my “Friends” do use this app, which supposedly saves rainforest. I have a hard time seing how! Please explain, anyone!

Update 1: Gwendolen Tee send me a link to an explaination by Beth Kanter regarding Lil Green Patch – a social gardeing game. Apparantly, through sponsors it does generate some money. Also, many worthy causes are being displayed while you play the game. The game donated 138.900 US$ dollars and recruited almost a 1000 members to Nature Conservancy. However, with over 500 000 players logging in daily and 6.8m user monthly worldwide users, my participation is a bucket in the sea.  I have 48 “(Lil) Green Patch” request with plants sent to me. Do I have to play this? Can I donate my plants to someone who needs them?

Update 2: Bora Zivkovic of Blog around the Clock (Coturnix in the commment below) suggests also to make a mention of perhaps the most useful of all features on Facebook. The Event application, which you can use to invite friends to special birding events, such as birding festivals, field trips and lectures. This is a very useful feature for the organizers of the events to both get in contact with attendees and get an idea as how many will attend, as there is a response button for the event invitation. Furthermore, for the participant in the event it provides a constant reminder as the upcoming events are featured on the right. Bora has a lot of experience of Facebook and has used it for many different purposes. I think you will find his blog post – the evolution of Facebook – very helpful.

Update 3: This one I actually found myself.  If you blog, you should definitely use the NetworkedBlogs application. Just click on the link above to sign up. Then search for blogs containing birding and subscribe to your favorites. In summery, you can use Facebook as a blog feeder and you can also rate the blogs you subscribe to.  It is easy to handle a large number of blogs this way.

Joining Facebook about 9 months ago has brought lots of joy. I have better contact than ever with my grown-up daughter. I have connected with friends from the past I lost contact with. And most importantly I am direct contact with hundreds of birders around the world. Some are potential clients – others are not. It is not important. It is interesting to get to know each and everyone – and it is a cool way to connect and interchange bird photos and good birding stories.

See you on Facebook then???
Gunnar Engblom
Lima, Peru

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Photo by David Fulmer from Flickr by creative commons lisence
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Amazon reader makes it possible to read for free.

In my last post – my top10 list of birding web-sites, I started out mentioning that the Web-gurus frequently use top lists on different subject, such as social media and web 2.0 subjects such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, blogging, Search Engine optimization etc, in order to catch attention and to provide something immediately useful. I list these lists examples here again as one of the links was broken, just to make the point.

Ending that blogpost I put 5 books on these subjects from Amazon.com. When checking out each book on Amazon, much to my surprise I could read substantial parts of the books.

This is how I was to read the most essential parts without paying a cent. Clicking any book you get a page that shows the book, price, reviews and naturally how to purchase it. On the left above the picture of the book it says “Look inside”.
Go ahead – click away, you have nothing to loose.

Open the table of contents and go through which part you would like to read. If you have a large screen it is a good idea to open yet another window, so you can have the index handy at all times. In your second window you enter the page number – just the number – in the search box. If the page is available for view it will be clickable. You can read a couple of pages of content by turning the pages on the left or right of the screen. Once you finished these pages, put in a new page number in search to continue reading.

I don’t know yet, if there is a limit of pages viewed per book per day, there may be, and Amazon would be able to track the users based on their IP. I suggest to go slow and only look at the pages you really want to read. Please comment, if you find any such time/page-limits.

It will not be possible to read the whole book, but after some initial testing it seems to me that between 60-80% of the book content is available in most cases, maybe more. In the end it is up to the publisher how much of the material he/she wants to be available this way. Why the hell would Amazon let the users be able to read such a major part of the book this way without paying? Behind this concept is much of the philosophy that you actually sell more books if the users are able to look inside them. That is why there still are bookstores around in spite of Amazon’s cheap prices. Looking inside the books this way, is Amazon’s way responding to the “real” bookstores advantage to let their clients see before they buy.
So what if the sections you really wanted to read are not available for view, does this mean you have to buy the book to find out? No, not at all, simply pick up another book on the same topic and search for the same stuff. In the search box you can also enter keywords to search for. Below follows some more books on Amazon in the carousel on the same or related subjects. Feel free to go click-crazy with no obligation of buying. Read, read, read! All for free.
Having said this, it would not surprise me if some of you guys end up buying anyway. If you do, please send me a pdf of the missing pages (hehehe!). Happy reading.

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Blogging by email and networking.

I just set up a super secret email account from which I shall be able to send posts directly to my new WordPress blog on Kolibri Expeditions web-site. I guess this is part of the web 2.0 revolution…even if I got on this train late. Part of this strategy is to use networking as way to get to both potentially new clients as well as keeping in touch with and in the mind of clients in the past. Facebook is one of the best way to do this. My Facebook account is here, if you want to become my “friend” on facebook. In fact, it is not that necessary that we actually know each other. Facebook is a bit of voyeurism, but oneself decides really how much privacy is suitable to post. Some people use facebook strictly privately, while others use it, as I do, to create a new network with people with similar interest. In my case it is birding and specifically birding in Peru and South America. On facebook I have a bit over 200 “friends”. I think the order of some 400-500 “friends” would create a nice network


A few months ago I set up a twitter account and made my 200th posting today and have around 150 people following me. You can follow me too at www.twitter.com/kolibrix. Twitter could be considered micro-blogging. You tell the world what you are doing in 140 characters. Though many will just but daily activities such as “I am drinking coffee”, there are many people who use twitter as a fast means of telling their followers about a new blog post or sharing something interesting they have read.

Gunnar’s previous blogs

A couple of days ago I set up this blog. I have blogged before but usually far between. See some examples here:
https://www.birdingperu.blogspot.com/ (English)
https://www.limasafaris.blogspot.com (Spanish)

The present blog

This is however the first blog I do on the company page of Kolibri Expeditions https://www.kolibriexpeditions.com. Rather than having my web-master creating a new blogging tool specifically for my web-page, I decided to use one of the free ones available from www.wordpress.com and house it on our server. The people at the support section of my server provider kindly helped to upload the program. It is very convenient and there are already a lot functions and plug-ins available, The main idea is that the blog will:
1. Direct clients to our main part of the web-page. This way, we’d get more business.
2. Get more traffic period and thus better search engine position. With more traffic google ranks the web-site higher
3. Create new material which also helps to get more traffic as there will be more search engine keywords produced.
4. If I get a lot of readers, some online adds, can actually give some revenues at least to partly pay for the housing costs.

Today’s birding at Pantanos de Villa

Anyway, this blog was actually meant to tell you by sending an email that I have been birding with Eduardo Arrarte -the former Vice Minister of Tourism and his lovely wife Lieser today at Pantanos de Villa in an activity that I arranged open to the public. There were also two cultural tour guides that are learning about birding, and two other guys – one of them only 15 years old – that also ae new to birding. Great to be able to inspire new birders. This should be part of the mission of every birder. Share your knowledge.

Birds seen today included:
Peruvian Thickknee
Peruvian Meadowlark
Black-necked Stilt
Great Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
American Oystercatcher
Franklin’s Gull
Band-tailed Gull
Burrowing Owl
and many more.

Gunnar Engblom.

PS: I hope this works!!
PPS: Well, it didn’t. I had to post it the normal way. I wonder if it was because my secret account was an gmail account?

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