We’ve been round and round on WeatherBrains on the topic of weather information on Facebook and Twitter, and, of course, my postion is right.

Building a business on someone else’s platform, one that you don’t own or pay for, is a dangerous strategy.  Old model media companies have been unable to effectively develop their own platforms which is one of the reasons (and the herd mentality) so much effort is being put into value creation for companies other than your own.  Don’t misunderstand, I get it that there are a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter.  The error is in how we trained people to use them.

There was an interesting meeting at the latest NWA convention and a comment from a “regular” person rings in my ears every day.  They were discussing the April 27 tornado outbreak in Alabama and the woman said, “I heard there was a tornado, so I started searching on Twitter.”  I would have hoped she would have searched a more direct source of information.  Training is important, and habits are hard to break.

Fred Wilson, venture capitalist, has some thoughts on the subject.  The links in his post are worth a look too.


About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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5 Responses to Platforms

  1. Rob Dale says:

    An area of research I’m playing with in my Master’s program is the possibility of using some sort of intelligence-searching software to filter through Twitter for any sort of weather information posts that people might use to reduce their time spent searching for warning confirmation. I know it’s already being used as a security tool, but wonder how it could work in filtering through 175 RT’s of “Tornado warning issued for…” and pull out the 1 picture of the funnel and 2 reports of actual damage.

  2. Kevin Selle says:

    That is a fantastic idea, Rob! I know some good coders so let me know when you are ready to make that app. It will be HUGE. Thanks!

  3. Kevin I agree with you that it is dangerous to build your business on a platform you don’t own, but my question is how do we build a platform that not only provides quality weather information to the public, and make money doing it? I know you’ve talked at length in the past about the death of TV, and while I agree it’s dying, I also know we are in that awkward transition phase where trying to build an online platform can be difficult because there isn’t a precedent on how to do it. How do we as individual meteorologists compete with companies like TWC or Accuweather in the online domain? I know I can put out a better forecast for a local area than they can, but how do I make a living doing it? National advertisers want to see big CPM to make money on banner ads or spots on online video, can a local market generate enough traffic through that to generate a solid income? There is always the option of selling local ads, but then you are having to double as a meteorologist and a sales person, and trying to convince business owners in “smaller markets” to do online advertising can be a bit of a challenge.

    I guess in summary I ask, how do we as broadcast meteorologists protect ourselves from the eventual downfall of TV? How do we build a platform for ourselves that we can still make a living off of? And finally how do we do it while still working in the broadcast industry without ruffling too many of our owners/bosses feathers?

    • Kevin Selle says:

      Excellent questions, Shane. The short answer is, “I dunno!” But I have some thoughts that I will share in the next post, inspired my your comment. Thanks!!

  4. Pingback: Weather May Not Be Enough | Digital Meteorologist

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