Friends and bird-bloggers, we’ve come to an inflection point in the history of the longest-running natural history blog carnival on the web. I and the Bird has had a good run, but enthusiasm seems to be at an all-time low. Like most blog carnivals, we’re getting fewer links and visits for most editions. Even more troubling, we have no scheduled hosts!
We’re lucky to have a couple of participants who volunteer regularly to host IATB. However, a carnival hosted regularly by a small circle has much less value than one that rotates throughout its community. Active participation in a blog carnival still makes sense:
- Search engines factor deep links (a link in one blog’s post to another blog’s post) into their credibility algorithms. In fact, deep links carry much more weight than blogroll links, particularly ones from sites already carrying substantial SEO weight.
- Niche carnivals like I and the Bird help bloggers reach new readers outside their immediate circles.
- Outstanding hosts earn massive respect for their effort and creativity (right?!?)
- Readers appreciate these aggregated anthologies of avian observations.
More than that, IATB has served for years as a way to bring the international bird blogging community — readers and writers alike — together. But perhaps we’ve run our course. I’ve already addressed the IATB mailing list, but feel a decision this important deserves broader input. Consider these three options:
- People volunteer to host and we schedule at least a few months out
- We take a break for a month so everyone can focus on migration then get back to blogging
- We end I and the Bird and memorialize it unto eternity, etc. etc.
A decision must be made before Thursday, so share your thoughts in the comments section if you have an opinion. Even better, volunteer to host!
While you’re considering this weighty matter, be sure to send your link and summary for the next (possibly last) IATB to Kirk Mona (kirkmona AT yahoo DOT com) of Twin Cities Naturalist by the end of the day.
The silence in here is deafening.
As much as I enjoy I and the Bird I think it may have come to the end of the line. The internet and blogging have changed since 2005. There is still great content but people find it in new ways. People share links to this content through Twitter, Facebook and other new communication platforms. I think people value the social filter of these mediums whereas I and the Bird, as great as it has been, is not as timely nor as filtered as it is essentially a self selection process. I think seeing it go would be a shame but it may also just be time to focus on the next big thing in communications. Self-submitted blog carnivals served a purpose before the social media of web 2.0 but the audience may have moved on.
I, for one, would hate to see it go. But that may be the sentimentalist in me. I enjoy the format, even though I don’t contribute at near the frequency as in the beginning. The truth is, especially come winter, I just don’t bird blog as much as before.
I know you’re seeking new blood, but if you do decide to keep it going and need it I’ll volunteer to host IATB once again.
I felt my enthusiasm for “I and the Bird” waning, but I didn’t have a reason why. Just last week I added a most popular posts gadget to my blog and my last time hosing I and the Bird was one of the most popular visits to my site of all time. I have seen the bird blogging community (and the online community at large) seem to have migrated to facebook, so maybe blogging is fading. My blog traffic has increased this year to five times my traffic a year ago, so that tells me that people are still finding and enjoying blogs. The blog format just fits the way I want to share my joy of birding with others that are like-minded. I hope it stays a strong medium.
I vote taking a break for a month but keeping IATB going. A shame that social media may be affecting its popularity since the snippets of info. posted on Facebook cant compare to the depth and artistry of quality blog posts.
I think saying that Facebook and Twitter only provide snippits misses the mark though. Sure Twitter only gives you 140 characters but, for example, I just looked at my feed reader and of the last 10 tweets to come though, 9 out of 10 contained links to longer articles or blogs. Sure, some of the social media messages are purely social chit chat but many are actually links to good deep content. It all depends on who you follow though. If you follow Nature Blog Network or now 10,000 birds, you know you are going to get instant access to new quality articles. Maybe I and the Bird could evolve into something else. I would probably subscribe to a I and the Bird twitter feed to get the same content. I agree with Mike though that one of the biggest losses if I and the Bird goes away will be the traffic to the hosting site and the google ranking that comes with it. Still, as people find information from other sources I know I’ve seen fewer and fewer people coming to read editions of I and the Bird. At some point bloggers do the equation and have to ask if it is worth it to curate an edition for the modest traffic bump they will see. For some, the answer is yes, for others, clearly no.
I’m thinking that once a month would be sufficient for “I and the Bird” and perhaps make it more special based on the law of scarcity. I would love to see “I and the Bird” with its own twitter account tweeting great bird blog posts, even if its just an every once in awhile thing. It would be a prestigious deal to get your post tweeted by “I and the Bird.”
Bourbon, Bastards and Birds would be glad to host I and the Bird if it has made it through yesterday….I would have posted this earlier, but its been a long time without solid internet access for me (Ive been working as a hawk counter in Mexico).