As we move forward into 2023, I am thinking about the future of Flocking Around and what I want to bring to all of you bird lovers, bird enthusiasts, birders, bird curious, and general nature-loving folks.
See, while Flocking Around is about birds, it is truly about more. It is about you. It is about fostering and nurturing your love and knowledge of birds. Yes, we can use that love and knowledge to help our feathered friends, but also, I want to use laughter and information to help the birdy side of your lives to shine a little brighter. So, let’s talk about the direction for Flocking Around in 2023 and what I want from you all and for you all.
If you are reading this and are not part of the flock, please consider joining. AND, if you are already part of the flock, SHARE the fun with your friends!
A quote for 2023
I found this quote in one of my scheduling notebooks, and I want it to help steer this unstable dingy that is the Flocking Around Ship:
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
-John A. Shedd
I am using this quote to tell you where I want to go with this near-rudderless ship. Out. Up. Onward. Forth.
Where I want Flocking Around to go
Flocking Around was built because I have encountered too many birders, birding organizations, and birding social groups that act almost as gatekeepers. They can even act elitist, running off those who are new or on the fringes of birding. It hurts me when I see these behaviors, and I think it is gradually impacting the connections between bird conservation and the individuals that connect birds. Flocking Around is my effort to connect bird lovers through laughter and a wee bit of information.
If you have read most of the written content I have created, you might have noticed that it is not all humor-based. I have an explanation for this. I want every bit of content I create to be free. I am not a fan of charging for knowledge. To accomplish this, I pay for the subscriptions necessary to do the research, gather the information, then present it in a digestible format for you, the reader. This costs a lot of money. I counter these expenses by creating articles that are straightforward and answer questions that many internet users ask. These articles bring in new members, advertising dollars, and clicks. Currently, these are the articles that bring the dollars necessary to keep the dingy afloat. These articles must continue for the foreseeable future. However, I hope I can mix more humor into these articles while I also create bird-themed articles around a funny thought or joke.
Where does this leave us? It leaves us with the heading for 2023. We are full steam ahead into an open and honest Flocking Around. Maybe a little too flocking, honest. I plan to create more content purely for the sake of giving you a smile or a chuckle. I am working to create more video content for the Flocking YouTube page. I want to host live events where we can play trivia, I can teach classes, and can offer some bird-themed standup. It’s ambitious. It’s excessive. But I want to try, regardless of the effort necessary. I put in a lot of effort for all things Flocking Around. It may seem that not much is happening at times, but creating content for social media is a neverending task that I do solo. I have to schedule most media posts many days in advance. So if you have a delay in a response to something on Facebook or Instagram, please know I will find it eventually!
Now, grab the railing, ya scurvy scallywags, and keep your eyes fixed on the flocking horizon as we sail from the safety of the harbor. We are in this listless ship together.
Oh wait! A Black-footed Albatross just went by! Turning port side! Forget everything I just said! Full sails toward that albatross!
What's with the ads?
Yes, this site has some very generic ads scattered throughout. Those are search and activity-based ads that try to target audiences based on their interests. I am working to eliminate the need for these ads moving forward. I am hoping by 2024, those types of ads no longer exist on this site. The other types of ads are affiliate links and ads for Flocking Around's products. However, I view these advertisements as less typical ads and more recommendations.
If you see a book, camera, binocular, scope, seed, feeder, etc., being listed on this site, you can trust that it is likely something I have tested, used, or include it in my regular bag of gear. I do my best to avoid promoting items that I have no experience with. For example, a fairly viral bird feeder that takes photos asked me to review and promote their product. However, they would not send me an actual product to test and review. I refused, including turning down the associated income that would have benefitted the site. I just cannot do that.
My hope for the long-term future is to find a title sponsor for Flocking Around, allowing for fewer ads. Just imagine Flocking Around, brought to you by "Awesome Bird Company." We can achieve this by continuing to build this community.
What I want from the flock
I do not want to ask much from you, the flock, but what I will ask is for simple participation. If there is a poll, click an option! If you have a thought on an article, leave a comment. Think the information could be helpful to someone else? Share with friends and family. Take a guess on bird quizzes. Try to solve bird mysteries. Comment your own top 5 bird lists. Share your favorite birding experiences. Send questions to the mailbag. Offer wild guesses to our bird quizzes.
Just jump in and start rowing. We will get further together.
What I want for the flock
I want prosperity, joy, success, empowerment, hope, love, and laughter for you all. But I just run a site built around birds and bad bird jokes. What I can hope to achieve from that list is the laughter. I want the flock to form positive, happy connections built on shared laughter and experiences. Accomplishing this will require the investment of you that I listed above. Still, what matters most to me is that you laugh.
And just keep laughing.