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Driftwood Outdoors, Outdoor enthusiasts gathering “socially” online by Brandon Butler

This article "Outdoor enthusiasts gathering "socially" online" was shared by our friend Brandon Bulter from Driftwood Outdoors and ran in his syndicated newspaper column in November 2009.

Outdoor enthusiasts gathering “socially” online by Brandon Butler of Driftwood Outdoors

When Fred Bear, Curt Gowdy, Teddy Roosevelt or Zane Grey had a story to tell about an exciting hunt or a monster fish, they either wrote the story out on paper, or recounted it around a campfire. Today, when hunters and fishermen want to share their stories, they saddle up to a computer and open a “social networking” web site.

MySpace (ww.myspace.com) was the first rave in social networking, but like the wild buffalo in Indiana before it, MySpace has faded to memory. The hottest networking site now is Facebook (ww.facebook.com). For those of you behind the times, who aren’t yet “friends” with strangers, allow me to brief you on the basics. On Facebook, you build a profile using a fill-in-the-blank template. Your profile includes information and pictures that you post. People can search for you, and when they find you, they request to become your friend. You have the option to accept or decline them. Of course, you can search for people and ask them to be your friend as well. Over time, your number of friends increases, growing your personal network.

On your homepage, you receive posts (informational blips) from your friends. People talk about all sorts of things, but right now, many of my friends are talking deer hunting and steelhead fishing. When one of them takes a nice buck or catches a fresh silver, they can post pictures and a short story.

I wasn’t a super fast adopter to social networking, but must admit, I’m hooked now. I check Facebook everyday. I enjoy seeing what others are up to. For instance, I know that Bill Miller, president of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, saw a shooter buck last night, but couldn’t take the shot because it was too dark to film. And, I know Cameron Hanes killed a nice 10-pointer yesterday in Iowa hunting with Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo. It’s fun.

Facebook is for everyone, not just sportsmen, so of course in our progressive, individualized, capitalistic society, social networking exclusively for sportsmen has been developed. CamoSpace (www.camospace.com) and MyBuckStory (www.mybuckstory.com) are two examples of outdoor based social networking sites. CamoSpace is a lot like MySpace. Members link each other and communicate via posts and video. Music can be added to personal profiles and more can be done to customize a person’s page. MyBuckStory is more like Facebook. Everyone creates a similar looking profile and then connects as “friends,” also communicating via posts. One real nice, unique aspect of MyBuckStory is the articles section on the web site’s homepage. This allows members to write articles about their outdoor adventures and post them for all to read.

“MyBuckStory is a one of a kind social networking website designed for outdoor enthusiasts to share their hunting and fishing stories by posting them on our homepage.  Our site just went live this summer and things have really taken off since then” said Adam Dunnom.

Another incredible new outdoor web site is Bill Winke’s Midwest Whitetail (www.midwestwhitetail.com). Winke is one of the foremost outdoor writers in the country, regularly publishing articles in dozens of different outdoor publications. What he has done with Midwest Whitetail is created a true, high quality on-line outdoor show that is potentially more informative than anything you can watch on television, because shows air a matter of days after being filmed. The web site has exclusive channels, hosted by teams, for many different Midwestern states. You can watch an Indiana show that was filmed two days ago, and listen as the hunters explain what they are seeing in the woods, right now, not this time last year. Or you can go back and watch all the Iowa shows from this season, and observe the entire season unfolding. This is a wonderful tool to help you determine what time of year you’d like to book your hunt out there in whitetail paradise.

The web is where it’s at. I’m a strange mix between old and new. I enjoy reading Thoreau, Steinbeck, Harrison and McGuane by firelight, but I also check my Facebook account from an I-phone in my treestand. I honestly believe all this social networking is a gift. Previous generations lost touch people and were left with few means to find them again, and had little chance to get to know people from other parts of the world. We now have opportunities to easily stay connected with those we hope to call friends for life, and also to meet new friends from all over the world who can keep us up to date on the rut in Texas, the salmon run in Washington and a the brown trout bite in Argentina.

If you happen across one of my profiles, feel free to “friend” me. I’ll be happy to share a “cyberfire” with you.

See you down the trail.