Birds Korea, April 14th 2014
With this post, a short background note on the Birds Korea blog, and a request for advice and input.
Thanks to our members and supporters, Birds Korea is now almost ten years old. Our English-language and Korean-language websites are even older, and they remain the formal voice of the organization. They require expertise and a lot of hard work to maintain and happily they are greatly enriched by input from many members (as becomes obvious when looking through bird news, year reviews and the gallery etc). Over time, these websites have become a really useful Korean-language and English-language resource – for birders, conservationists, media and decision-makers here and overseas. However, they provide little opportunity for Birds Korea members actually to communicate with each other directly. While the Korean-language website still has a Forum (with multiple sections), the Forum on the English-language website was discontinued several years ago. Management was becoming especially time-consuming (to remove spam etc.); topics were pre-defined; some users complained that it was simply too difficult to post their images on it; and the number of posters remained rather small.
Three years ago, we therefore agreed to start a blog instead. The blog, with posts in both Korean and English, has the primary aim of helping to build a sense of community between Birds Koreans and those who care about the region’s birds and habitats. Members are encouraged to post by themselves (and instructions are provided on how to post images as well as text); and visitors are invited (warmly!) to post comments.
Right from the beginning, the scope of content was set wide and broad: the Birds Korea blog was essentially for anything relevant to birds and habitat conservation in Korea, the Yellow Sea Eco-region and East Asia. This includes, for example news stories (on birds or other species groups, on development, key sites, climate change, illegal hunting, etc); events (before, during and after!); identification notes, questions and comments; and of course, links to other sites, including members’ personal blogs, and social media.
The blog is already home to many hundreds of posts. However, the number of posters remains small. We therefore believe that the blog is in need of an overhaul. Work is already ongoing to improve its look and usability, including improving the link between the blog and our twitter feed (yes, we do have a twitter feed!) and our Facebook pages (yes, we are also on Facebook!). All the same, IF this blog is really going to help build more of a sense of community, we do really need more buy-in.
So, let us ask: realistically, what can be done to help you and others to use the blog more?
Do you agree that it would be really helpful to have regular contributors to the blog? Do you yourself want to be a news gatherer, happy to post about relevant stories? Or are you more of a networker, happy to share news regularly from other websites and blogs? Or a birder, willing to select and highlight recent sightings – from within Korea or in eastern China, Japan or Russia? What do you want from the blog, and what do you want to do to make the blog provide that?
With sincere thanks in advance, please mail us your thoughts or comments!