If you look at iNaturalist as an online social platform, it is a breath of fresh air. People upload photos or sounds to identify animals or plants, and others make suggestions or validate the ones made by others. There is much more to it, but all of it is far from the toxicity that nowadays dominates a big part of the social internet. As I said, a breath of fresh air where I’m not required to fight any pretentious algorithm constantly.
I love it because I’ve learned so much there. After moving to Central Oregon from a very different part of the world almost four years ago, there is a lot I don’t know about the area: a desert to the east, mountains, and huge forests to the west… it is all literally a new world to me. When I see a tree, a flower, or an animal I’ve never seen before, I take a picture and upload it to my profile. Often, the automatic recognition system will point me in a good direction right away, and I know that, in most cases, I will be sure about the observation in a few hours, thanks to other iNaturalists. From there, I can investigate and learn about it for as long as I want. So helpful and refreshing for a social network!