Are you going to the birdfair?

Foursquare at the birdfair.

by Gunnar on July 28, 2011 · 8 comments

in Birding Western Palearctic

The BIG British BirdFair Meet-up.

It might be a surprise to some that I am actually going to the British Birdfair this year. Last year about this time I was promoting the Virtual Birdfair on my blog- an idea that the resources at the birdfair would be better sought on-line on a central portal which would mirror the activities not only of the British Birdfair but all birding festivals in the world. That idea is still valid, and although it will not happen this year, it will come.  It is a massive project to take on, so I will not to it on my own. Anyone willing to help out so the Virtual Birdfair can go live next year, should let me know.

But let me return to this year’s actual British Birdfair. I am actually going to be there for the full 3 days. No, I will not have a stand. No, I will not bring 300 kilos of fresh-smelling color brochures to hand out to people. No, I will not pitch you a trip to Peru in every sentence I utter.

I will be there to meet people. I want to meet the people I know from birding blogs, Facebook and Twitter. In fact, the British Birdfair could well become a gigantic Tweet-up for birders.

I want to drink a few beers with the Drunk Birder, I want to swear with Tom McKinney, I want to Talk Naturally with Charlie Moores, I want to see Binocularface’s 10 birds from Turkeý-tattoo, I want to see Dale digiscoping action and drool over the new Swaros, I want a Hungarian Hug from 123kg heavy 198m tall Szimi (and a bottle of Tokai) and I want to kiss Rebecca Nason to show me how to use my SLR camera.

And I would like to meet with all the readers of Birdingblogs.

The problem is. How do you meet with people at the Birdfair? That is what this post is about.

Social Media at the BirdFair.

What you need is a smart phone. That could be a Blackberry, an Iphone, an Android, a Windows phone or a Symbian for example. These phones all have location service with built in GPS that is extremely accurate as it also use the telephone signal as reference.   Hands up everyone who has a smartphone!

Here are five services on your Smart-phone that provides location. I suggest to try to use all five prior to the  Birdfair to get used to them.  They will be great tools to meet-up with people and the businesses at the Birdfair providing special offers, drinks or food.


Yes, Facebook also have location in the mobile function Places.  But you can only see where your Facebook Friends are here which can be both a limitation and an advantage.  It comes with immediate map function, so you can see where your friends in relation to your position.


As you probably know, you can add location to your tweet. It is cool to click on the location of your friends when at home with your desktop client for Twitter. But what is even cooler is to locate the tweets on your phone. Not all Twitter apps do this well.  For iPhone my favorite so far is Osfoora paid version. I have not found yet a good app with location for Blackberry. Which are your favorites for other smartphone operation systems? Let us know in the comments.

I suggest Twitter users try to install a good Twitter client for the smartphone prior to the BirdFair. It will be extremely useful to locate your friends and the people you want to meet.
I suggest to start using #birdfair for tweets about the birdfair, that way it will be easy to keep track of tweets about the Birdfair leading up to the Aug 19-21 weekend.

This is how a tweet would look:
Just visited the Neotropical BirdClub stand and renewed my membership and am not heading to the beer-tent #birdfair

But more useful still is that various activities of the stands and the talks can be announce via Twitter followed by the #birdfair hashtag.  The best thing tweeting events on Twitter is that is has already been done for other big events.

Check in once in a while where you are and where you are going. There may be people around who want to catch up with you.

But the best thing with Twitter location is that you can find out where different people go to drink after the fair closes down on the Friday and the Saturday. That is when the fun socializing starts.

If you want to know where I will be my Twitter handle is kolibrix. What is yours? Put it in the comments below.

Google+ and GoogleBuzz

Actually, Google Buzz location system for smart phones is VERY good as it is fully intergrated with google maps. It is very intuitive to use. The software is free. There is no confusion as of which app to use.  The bad part is that there are so few users.  If you are serious about location there are many great functions of Buzz.

As for Google+ it is just rolling out slowly. Unlike Facebook you share with the whole world – or circles of “friends”. The circles are much like Facebook friends lists, but are placed in front so you start sorting your friends into circles from the start. This makes Google plus far more attractive to for example my wife or my mom, who are not comfortable at Facebook since it feels you are sharing “too private things” with the whole world. And the multiuser video chat function will be absolutely mindblowing to my mom – if I could convince her.

I don’t think Google+ will take off for birders at this birdfair, but you never know.

It could be an idea to start making a circle for the people you want to check out at the Birdfair. The Google+ app for your phone also has a good stream from Nearby, but obviously you will only see such things that are shared with the public or specifically to you as within the circle of the poster.  On the other hand Google+ is the best for conversations.  Do you use Google+ yet. Will you use it at the Birdfair?


Foursquare is the pioneering check-in at locations such for business such as stores, restaurants, bars, etc. Each time you check in at a place you earn scores and badges and eventually also titles. Frequent visitors become mayors or the venture. It is a game, but business owners  can set-up special deals and discounts for repeating visitors. It becomes an interaction between consumers and dealers.

I don’t think anyone used Foursquare much last year at the Birdfair. It was quite new then and this year the steam has gotten lost somewhat as other platforms roll out their check-in options. Having said that, it is probably the best way for the stand owners to reach users – if the users can start learning about Foursquare.  The Birdfair would be a great event to try FourSquare for the first time.

I could go on and explain exactly how to use Foursquare but there are already quite lot of good manuals how to use Foursquare at events so I simply provide some links.

If you participate at the Birdfair as a business or organisation, will you be using Foursquare? If you are a consumer at the birdfair. Have you ever used Foursquare?



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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Armstrong July 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

Birdwatch will be at Birdfair and I for one will be tweeting away on the Friday!


Jeffrey Gordon July 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Gunnar! Liz and I will finally get to meet you! We’ll be arriving Thursday and there for all 3 BF days. Like you, we’ll be boothless, mostly there to meet people and soak it all in. Should be fun.


Gunnar Engblom July 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Excellent! We could always carry our virtual booth. “Here is my card, when you have time check my website, now let’s have a beer and tell some lies.” Enviado desde mi BlackBerry de Movistar


Gunnar Engblom July 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Excellent! We could always carry our virtual booth. “Here is my card, when you have time check my website, now let’s have a beer and tell some lies.” Enviado desde mi BlackBerry de Movistar


Gunnar Engblom July 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Excellent! We could always carry our virtual booth. “Here is my card, when you have time check my website, now let’s have a beer and tell some lies.” Enviado desde mi BlackBerry de Movistar


MartinF August 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm

yep but will there be good network coverage? It’s often patchy ar Rutland


Gunnar Engblom August 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Martin, did not think of that. Which network has best coverage at Rutland. This will be important. 


Steve August 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

No. Not going. 

The emissions produced on getting everyone there from all corners of the world are totally unnecessary. Just so people can sell birding ‘holidays’ that make more unnecessary emissions, or for birders to spend thousands on optics they’ll use twice a month on twitches that produce even more emissions.

Go birding instead. And send a tenner somewhere useful.


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