David Papp Blog

#BirdCam : A Social Media Experiment

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Robin and Nest Favorite 1

My kids spotted a robin’s nest in our yard.
It was inside one of our sheds.
Hmm… a light bulb flickered to life.
Wouldn’t this be a great way to showcase what you can do with technology,
websites, and the power of social networking.

Within a day I had a webcam mounted watching the nest and uploading pictures directly to a server.

By the next day my staff helped create an amazing website in record time. (We are all having fun with this.)

The result: http://birdcam.ca/

The website is still evolving with favorite pictures and viewing the photo archives coming online within a day.

Why go through all this effort to do this you ask? Partially because “we can”, also because “it’s cool”, and also it is an “experiment”.

Experiment? How so?

We wanted to see how fast we could create a brand new website, with unique content being generated for us (thank you mother nature), how “viral” could we make it, and see where it leads. Unfortunately much of the content online these days in the social networking world is what I call “noise”. Who cares what you ate for breakfast or what you are wearing. Also many people retweet/republish/repost other people’s content. Noise noise noise. It is difficult to come by brand new unique content.

Robin and Nest Favorite 2

Sites like what we have created have many possible applications. For instance what if we watched the construction of your brand new house being built. You could see it evolve, check on it anytime you wanted, and then a neat bonus with something being built is time lapse videos! Having a picture taken on a regular basis from a consistant location is ideal for compiling such amazing videos.

We are getting recommendations from people and implementing new features as quickly as we can during this experiment. The experiment will be over in the next 3 weeks after the eggs are hatched and the new born robins all fly away. We want to see where things end up at the end of this timeframe and how viral it gets.

Right now I as I write this I am enjoying watching the realtime logs on our webserver going nuts with new visitors and people refreshing their browsers.

Please check out the website http://birdcam.ca/ and invite your friends and contacts to do so as well. If you are on twitter, the hashtag is #BIRDCAM

And check back frequently near June 1st which is the current best guestimate we have on when the eggs may begin hatching.

6 thoughts on “#BirdCam : A Social Media Experiment”

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying this site. We too have discovered a robin nest in our carport. Sure wish I had a webcam too, but it is wonderful to behold the beauty of nature. I will be excited to see when our “nursery” has some cute little babies cheeping away. Thanks for sharing this awesome experience with me.

  2. I thing this experiment is just wonderful. I think we should start appreciating nature more. And what better way to do that than with the revolutionary technology we have at our disposal. Ofcourse something like this would go viral. It’s just beautiful to watch.

  3. Great idea. I really like the point you stated about the so called ‘noise’ with useless content not even worth being called information, which is replaced by your great and apparently unique content regarding the birdcam

  4. David, the project itself is great. But the pictures. Wow. Coming from someone who is far away from nature-y things, I am so grateful for having such beautiful creatures to observe. Your intentions might be more about exploring its application to other things but it also makes me appreciate the world more.

  5. That post is great. It reminds me when I was watching a live feed of an eagle’s nest somewhere in the United States. I can’t remember where. There are tons of nature feed online. Make sure to check out justin.tv and other tv applications for apple devices.

  6. I agree. The project and the Web site with all the video and the pictures are so amazing. It’s great to have an up-close look at the robins as it helps us to reconnect with nature and its wonders.

    I also enjoyed the Web page you set up documenting the entire process. It’s a great blueprint for anyone who may have a similar happenstance — I think birds building a nest on one’s property is cool in and of itself! — as well as the ambition to share it with the world at large via the Web.

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