The BOS have a public Facebook group called “Banbury Birds” that is open to anyone in the area that the BOS covers. We hope this will increase our reach and contact within the local area, and encourage new people to get involved. Note that whilst called "Banbury Birds", it also covers Bicester, Brackley, Byfield, Chiiping Norton, Kineton and all surrounding villages.

We use the group to publicise our activities and issues the BOS is involved with. We may use it to notify people of special bird sightings, depending on sensitivity. All BOS members are encouraged to use the group to share information about birds you have seen or to communicate bird related news within the Banbury area. The same applies to anyone else within the community – the group is not restricted to BOS members, so please tell your friends about the group. Postings can be about the birds you have seen in your garden, unusual behaviour, results from your latest survey, first signs of nesting or perhaps an unusual bird you want help to identify, etc.

To use the group, you will need a Facebook account – some basic instructions on how to join are given below. Once logged on to Facebook search for “Banbury Birds” or use this link from a web browser: https://www.facebook.com/groups/banburybirds. You can then view all the posts by group members. If you want to post your own item, you must request to join the group by clicking the Join button at the top of the page. You will be asked a simple question to verify you are not an automated system. One of the BOS committee will then verify and approve your request to join. You will need to log back into Facebook to see when your membership request has been approved.

Once a member, you can post to the group by simply typing in the “Write Something” area, adding photos if you like. Please use common sense about what to post and be respectful to others in the group. When writing about a sighting, please follow the guidelines in the BOS Guide for Observers, respecting the sensitivity of the species and landowners concerned. The committee will monitor the posts and remove any that we deem in-appropriate. Repeat offenders will be removed from the group and barred from re-joining. If you spot an item that you consider is in-appropriate, please contact one of the committee so we can take appropriate action.

To refer to the group on other Facebook pages, typing @banburybirds will create a link for you. To refer to the BOS, type @banburyos. Please do spread the word about the group, we want to encourage non-members to join in.

We hope that you find this new facility a great way to communicate with other people in the area, so please do participate. Using Facebook on your mobile phone allows you to receive and pass on birding news whilst out and about, thus providing more immediate communication. Our monthly newsletter, meetings, email and website will remain our primary methods of communication to members, but we will also post reminders and updates to Facebook as well.

How to Use and Join Facebook

You can use Facebook from a PC, tablet/iPad or mobile phone that runs apps. Access is via a web browser at www.facebook.com or by downloading the Facebook app to your device. Installing Facebook on your phone allows you to post & receive news whilst out bird watching. Note that Windows 8 & 10 PCs can download a Facebook app via the Windows Store rather than use a web browser.

To create a Facebook account, you need to provide:

  • Your name – this should be your real name since your posts will refer to you that way and other people need to know who you are. Facebook tries to prevent you from using made up names.
  • A photo of you – this helps other people to recognise you.
  • Your email address – this is used by Facebook to identify you, not flood you with email messages. You can choose to hide the address so that only you can see it on Facebook.
  • Date of Birth – this does not have to be exact. It is used by Facebook for profiling, so anything over 18 years old should suffice. You can also choose to hide this from display (see Privacy below).
  • Gender

It is recommended that you specify at least an approximate address location (e.g. Banbury) so people can recognise you from similarly named users.

A useful guide to setting up a Facebook account is provided at this website: https://www.digitalunite.com/guides/social-networking-blogs/facebook/how-join-facebook.

Privacy Settings

You have probably heard about people disclosing too much information on Facebook. That can happen because Facebook is designed to create contacts between you and other people, so by default it lets other people see your Facebook profile and communicate with you – they want you to interact with people as much as possible. The advice therefore is to take a bit of time to lock down your profile as far as possible. This will also help to reduce the number of notifications you get from the Facebook system. The following instructions are based on using the website to modify your profile. You can do the same from a Facebook app, but the links to the settings are different.

The first thing to do is click About on your account page and then go through each of the items where you have entered information. The most sensitive information is under “Contact and basic info”. When you hover your mouse over information an “Edit” option appears. As well as changing the details, buttons will appear allowing you to choose who can see the information. For instance, for email address there are two buttons to use to hide it. The same applies to the Birthday information – the year and day/month can both be hidden. Chose the most restrictive setting, usually “Only Me”.

More detailed privacy settings are to be found by clicking the down arrow at the top of the page and choosing Settings. This will take you to a screen allowing you to alter a lot of values. It is recommended that you go through all of the values under Privacy, Timeline and tagging & Public Posts. For each setting, choose Edit and then select the most restrictive value, which tends to be either “Only Me” or “Friends”. Under Notifications you can turn off most of the notifications from Facebook, so you get less distractions.

This will take a few minutes, but once done it will significantly reduce your exposure and hopefully make your Facebook usage more pleasant.

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