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#seabirdersaturdays – Globally connecting seabirders on twitter

Sjurdur Hammer, November 14, 2014
 

Most of us would probably agree that social media is an important tool for building a global seabird community. However, there may be a real or perceived challenge to increase the informal interactions of the online seabird community. One reason may be that many new tweeps do not know how to get started on twitter and may be reluctant to “follow” people they don’t know. We hope that a new campaign may help motivate people to get more engaged on twitter, and generate collaborations with other seabirders. We hope it will also become a more fun and interesting place to start global conversations about conservation and research related to seabirds.

The more seasoned twitter users among you may recognise the #ff or #followerfriday tags. These are tweets which are mainly a recognition of the new people that followed you this week. This does several things. Firstly, it makes the follower feel appreciated. It also means that the follower can check out other people who most likely have similar interests to them, and it raises their own social profile, because their name features along with a few other names, and this post usually gets re-tweeted several times. The point of it is really only to encourage people to follow each other, and we think that this would be useful for seabirders to try out too.

We have themed it: #seabirdersaturday. The idea is that every Saturday, you (1.) pick 5 (or however many you can fit in a tweet), (2.) you tag the post #seabirdersaturday, and (3.) you tweet!

Anyone can participate, and if you’re new to twitter and don’t really know who to follow, these #seabirdersaturday tweets could become a really useful tag to locate people within your area of interest.

We welcome any comments or queries regarding this idea, and we intend to try it for the first time this coming Saturday. We hope as many as possible can take part in composing their own tweets and re-tweet others with the hashtag #SeabirderSaturday.

Below is an example of what a tweet could look like:

"#SeabirderSaturday - follow other seabirders! @Ellen_skua @jordanmcasey @saswisch @inexpectata @RachaelOrben @Hookpod @tonereiert"

Best regards

Sjurdur Hammer @sjurdur, Miguel McMinn Grive @miguelmcminn , Steph Borrelle @turtleandweasel

Comments ( 8 )

Bernardo Alps

Bernardo Alps

Hi Sjudur, Miguel and Steph.

I am afraid that you might be misinterpreting the meaning of #FF. It is meant to be a recommendation of someone to follow, not necessarily someone that is following you. More information at http://www.aliciacowan.com/social-media-and-digital-marketing/twitter/simple-twitter-tips-what-does-ff-mean .

Regardless, the intent of the proposed #SeabirderSaturday is different and a worthwhile idea. My only suggestion would be to shorten the hashtag (the fewer characters in the hashtag, the more you have left for the message). Maybe #SeabirdSat? It would save six characters.

Take care,

Bernardo Alps

Sjurdur Hammer

Sjurdur Hammer

Hi Bernardo,

I appreciate the comments, and am glad you find it a worthwhile suggestion.

Regarding shortening the hashtag, we did discuss this between ourselves and some shorter alternatives were suggested. I lean towards having the tag as long as it is now as it is more intuitive for new users. I don't want to underestimate peoples' capabilities but I remember how confused and annoyed I was, when I ended up in all sorts of #ff threads without knowing what it was about and how to make use of it.

Also I think that saving characters is a not neccesarily a goal in itself, and for the purpose of #seabirdersaturday I don't think it matters much if you fit one fewer user in your tweet at a time. In another context like a conference tag I would certainly agree with you, as the long tag would limit the amount of text people could write.

I would hope to hear other's opinion about this, and I'd be happy to change my mind if many agreed that the tag is too long.

Viola Ross-Smith

Viola Ross-Smith

Hi - I agree the hashtag is long, but let's see what happens. I'll send a #SeabirderSaturday tweet via BTO Twitter tomorrow...since we're an organisation, I'll probably just tag other organisations rather than individuals, but hopefully it'll help raise awareness of this idea in the seabird community.

Thanks!

Viola Ross-Smith

Sjurdur Hammer

Sjurdur Hammer

Hi Viola, thanks for your participation! I hope we perhaps could stick with the current tag for now, and perhaps let it evolve or adopt a new convention if we see a need to change it.

Hopefully we can make some waves.

Sjurdur Hammer

Sjurdur Hammer

I think the #seabirdersaturday went well. With topsy analytics showing over 200 tweets: http://buff.ly/1y98uEm it is good reason to think that a lot of people in the twitterspehere were reached.

Should we consider shortening the tag for next week? Any suggestions?

Should we perhaps also widen the overall use of the #seabirdersaturday with weekly themes? "favorite seabird" "fieldwork soundtrack", "issues only seabirders would encounter" or whatever? or should we keep it simple and only focus on giving "shout outs" and following each other under that same tag?

Viola Ross-Smith

Viola Ross-Smith

#seabirdersaturday certainly went well from a BTO perspective - our tweet was our best of the week by impressions (187.6K), and had 46 retweets plus 36 favourites.

I think themes would be good, but perhaps we should only do one a month or something like that - if we do a different theme every week, we might run out of ideas!

As for the hashtag, I noticed a few people used #seabirdsaturday - not only an easy mistake to make, but also slightly shorter! I'd be inclined to stick to #seabirdersaturday for now since it was a success, but it would be good to make sure people are clear about which they should be using...

Sjurdur Hammer

Sjurdur Hammer

I agree once a month would be a good idea, and wouldn't detract from the main purpose of connecting people.

I can foresee seabird/-er is going to become a long lasting and annoying misunderstanding. Any suggested solution to this? I'd be happy to switch if it resulted in less confusion

Sjurdur Hammer

Sjurdur Hammer

Do you have a proposed theme for this coming seabirdersaturday? I would propose something that included field photos. One suggestion: #seabirdersaturday - "favorite study species" and why it is your favorite study species?