Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Twinging - a new word in the birders dictionary

We are all familiar with the usual birdwatching terms and phrases: 

Grip, String, Blocker, Twitcher, Birder, Dude, Dipped, Lifer, Mega, etc - but I think this list needs to be added too!

I first came across these rather odd words when I started out birdwatching in the mid 80's when as a young lad I would hear them pop up in conversation and I would nod along as if I knew what the hell these bearded blokes were talking about, then I bought a copy of 'Bill Oddie's - Little Black Bird Book' and it all became a lot clearer. The book is now over 30 years old and was first been published in 1980 - I think I first read it around 1985. If you haven't read it - get yourself a copy, it's still very entertaining and is basically a humorous look at birdwatching and birdwatchers through the eyes of a young Mr Oddie.

Book, Little Black Bird Book, Birdwatching
My original copy c1985

But I digress, the point I'm trying to make is with the increasing use of social media within birding circles - especially Twitter, I believe a new word needs to be added to the birders vocabulary - Twinging - I'll explain.

With the world and his dog trying to get there latest, photo, blog, website, facebook page, etc noticed (I'm not exempt from a little bit of self publicity myself) by tweeting to their 1000+ followers - most of whom aren't the slightest bit interest in what you have to share, as they only followed you in the first place because you randomly mentioned the word 'Sausage'! It is becoming increasingly common place to put out bird news, especially rare bird news via Twitter on the merest whim and then before you know it that tweet is retweeted, favourited and then picked up by someone else who has misinterpreted the message, they tweet about it and very quickly the funny looking bird in auntie Beryls garden isn't really a Jay - it's being reported as a Rock Thrush! And the garden is surrounded by a good number of twitchers who have all travelled some distance to see auntie Beryls Jay - ok this is a slightly exaggerated, but you get my point - so therefore:

Stringing - a dubious or ropey record.
Tweet - a text based message of less than 140 characters via Twitter.
Twinging - a dubious, ropey or unconfirmed text based message of less than 140 characters via Twitter.

Next time you read a tweet before you retweet the message - think, are you happy with where the source of the message came from? 

This may save bird news services putting out a follow up message about an erroneous Rock Thrush - and you wouldn't want a reputation as a twinger ;-)



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