I’ve been worried for some time about putting our forecasts on Twitter and Facebook.  Obviously we have to be there, that is where the users are.

This is a tough problem.  Have we been training users to go to platforms that we don’t have any control over, and delivering a less than optimum experience?  Sure, 14o characters has taught us editing, but aren’t there those times when you really need 141?

The data stream quality of Twitter and Facebook are troublesome too.  If 10 or 12 people have posted something to a users feed after you then your data is long gone.  Unless of course they are looking for your data.  They could go back up stream and find it, but if they are looking for you, and they have to work for it, shouldn’t we send them to a platform we have some control over.

What would happen if Coke decided to pay you a million dollars to be attached to your Facebook forecast?  Would Mark Zuckerburg want a cut?

Terry Heaton has a new essay that is worth a read.  One of the lines is, “Just get ’em in the tent.”  I’ve long said that we have two jobs: 1. Tell ’em if it is going to rain.  2.  Get ’em in the tent so they can sample the rest of the wares in the newscast.

Number two sure is a lot harder now.  Remember, local weather information has been on top of the research for as long as there has been research.  Can you squeeze in a news tease along with your forecast in 140 characters?

Sure you can put a link in a Twitter or Facebook post.  Heaton suggests it might help with SEO, but it is another click for the user that some will bother with and some will not.

Once you train someone, and create a habit, re-training and breaking habits is a difficult thing to do.


About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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