(Editor’s Note: Rob Capon, who created the Monticello Bird Alert, sent us word that he is soon to be leaving Charlottesville. While he generously volunteered to continue to monitor the MBA from afar, our Publicity co-chairs, Susan and Guy Babineau have agreed to take over the monitoring duties and let Rob enjoy his new life in Arlington, VA, unencumbered. Be sure to read the entire article below to see how Rob has continued to update MBA services, even as he leaves us, giving us the option to send out MBA info as Twitter Tweets for those of us in search of real-time, local avian updates.
First, Rob’s good-bye note to all, and second, his instructions for sending your MBA sightings as usual, and, if desired, as real-time Tweets. Directions for updating your MBA account to include your sighting information as Twitter Tweets are permanently stored on our website in the dropdown ” Monticello Bird Alert,” found under the “Resources” tab, but they are outlined as well, in this post below. Happy Tweeting!)
I’m writing to let everyone know that Rose and I have made the decision to move to Arlington, Virginia on May 10th. It wasn’t an easy decision. But our kids have settled in Northern, Virginia which is the primary reason for the move. DC is my hometown, and Rose adores city life. We’ve sold our home, and are trading in suburban living for a condo near a metro station.
I’m sure we’ll be in and out of CVille a lot, and we hope that friends will call on us when you’re in DC. I hope to do a little birding before we leave town…..
Wishing everyone happy birding.
(Now here’s the scoop from Rob about the Twitter Alerts.)
“Real Time Twitter Bird Alerts”
There is a service where messages sent to the MonticelloBirdAlert are now forwarded to Twitter, and sent out as a Tweet and therefore available as a real-time text message. This enables you to see real-time birding information if you’re out and about, and an exciting bird blows through town for a few hours.
First, for all of you low tech, old-school birders DON’T WORRY! If you like things the way they have always been read no further. The YahooGroup bird alert will remain unchanged. You will continue to send messages to [email protected], and messages will be distributed via email as always.
But for those of you who want real-time text messages, here’s how the service works:
1) We’ve created an email account: [email protected].
2) We’ve created a Twitter account entitled “MonticelloBird”. Why not “MonticelloBirdAlert” you may ask? Well, Twitter has a 15 character limit, and MonticelloBird was a catchy name that fits the bill!.
3) We’ve subscribed to a service that monitors my [email protected] account and looks for incoming messages from the [email protected] sender, and whenever it sees such messages it forwards them to Twitter, and Twitter sends them out as Tweets!!!!!!
4) Here’s how you can get the feed. All you have to do is sign up for a Twitter account, and then sign up to “Follow” my Twitter account “MonticelloBird”. So if you already are a Twitter user, you’re 90% of the way there. Just start following “MonticelloBird”. If you’re not already a user, you’ll have to join Twitter to take advantage of the service. Just go to www.twitter.com and sign up. It takes about 2 minutes.
1) Twitter messages are short! Tweets are only 140 characters. The Twitter feed is set up to Tweet the subject line and the body of the message until you run out of characters. The rest of the message gets truncated. So if you see a subject line that says “Northern Bobwhite” and then a short message, you might have to check your email to get the rest of the details and directions.
2) It seems to take about 10 minutes for a new message to get Tweeted. There are a lot of servers interacting with each other and probably polling every few minutes, so it’s not instantaneous.
3) If you want to receive Tweets as an SMS text message, you have to turn on mobile notifications. Within twitter, click on the services that you are following. Next to the “MonticelloBird” Twitter feed you’ll see an icon that looks like a gear. That’s the settings for that Twitter feed. Click on that and click on “Turn on Mobile Notifications.”