I’m In “Like” With You…Or Not

I’d really like to take the temperature of the meteorological community.

I’ve been an outspoken critic of some types weather information on social media, on this blog and on WeatherBrains, but it is time for me to be quiet and listen.  My sense is that there is a growing frustration from those using social media to distribute weather information.  Am I right? Or is it a blown forecast?

Below is a short poll.  Actually what I am more interested in is your opinion in the comments section of this blog, or, if you would rather a less public forum, I’ll have a link to this post in the Broadcast Meteorologist Group on Facebook.

I’d really like to see if we can get critical mass on this.  Please distribute this post as far and wide as you are willing.  Thanks!


About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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8 Responses to I’m In “Like” With You…Or Not

  1. I’d wager that there’s probably a general agreement that we have a double-edged sword here. This reply may be a little rambling, so just bear with me…

    Obviously, there’s a lot of power in the easy ability for our weather information to be shared on social media. It’s no secret that posting an image of a snowfall forecast on a facebook page will generate a *lot* of discussion and will get shared like crazy, since that sort of thing gets people talking. If there’s a way to get what we want or need to say out there “efficiently,” then social media is definitely worthwhile, IMO.

    That said, your frustrations with the fact that we as users have virtually no real control over any of this stuff are hard to ignore. While neither I nor my station have (to my knowledge) run into any issues with accounts being randomly suspended or the like, even seeing Daryl’s iembots run into trouble on Twitter is unnerving. What’s to stop Twitter from flagging our station’s weather account as spam on a big severe weather day as ReadyWarn is cranking out warnings like mad?

    I thought about going into a little almost-rant about how it’s also become clear that some individuals almost need to be spoon-fed weather information and that we can now see just how “stupid” some people are. The thing is, though, that while certainly the “tell me what I need to know because I don’t want to figure it out” issue is probably getting worse, it’s always existed. We just were pretty blind to it, because there was very little direct connection between us and those who use our information. Now that it’s much more in the open, it’s easy for us to get annoyed, frustrated, whatever – but in the end, that’s not the right attitude to take. If we’re going to be real about the idea of a “Weather-Ready Nation,” then we have to be real about taking on the challenges we have in communication. Thankfully, we have our social science friends who are lending us a hand in that realm… but it doesn’t help if we’re shaking our heads at viewer thoughts/comments that always existed but we just didn’t know about before.

    That last paragraph was a little rambly (I warned you), but I think it’s probably one of the more overlooked aspects of this whole social media craziness. It may not be in the scope of what you’re looking for as far as responses, but I figured I’d get it out there.

  2. I have to admit overall my time on social media with weather has been positive, but I am slightly frustrated. I should also preface this feedback with the fact that my station is one of the few in the country that is not actively developing it’s web presence, social media included. All social media related activities have been strictly developed by station talent, and have had very little support from management.

    I like the timeliness of social media, it’s nice not being limited to 5,6 and 11 to get information out. It’s a platform that a lot of people use so the potential audience is vast. which I also like. My main gripes about social media are that we don’t control the platforms, nor monetize them, and just the absurdity of some of the viewers questions. For example you can put a snowfall map up of every county in the DMA and it never fails that someone in the comments will ask ,”How much snow in my backyard.” When does it become the responsibility of the user to be able to interpret a product we make, or when is somebody going to come up with a way to make a true personalized forecast that can be delivered via a platform that is more friendly to us as content creators.

  3. I’m not 100% sure what you are looking for, but let me take a business approach. We are paid from our television station and website. Anything we do on social media should draw them to those sources for weather information. If we post a 7 day forecast on Twitter and viewers see it while laying in bed, why should they turn on the TV or your website to get the weather?

    Also, people are becoming too dependent on Social Media. Countless numbers have tweeted me or commented on Facebook with comments like “I’m not staying up until 10, is it gonna rain tomorrow”? SO, they don’t even want to go to our website or App… they want YOU to deliver it to where they are… Facebook and Twitter. Why do they expect that? Because we have allowed it.

  4. Social Media is just another form of communication. We work in the communications business and thus should embrace it fully to communicate our message to our viewers. I understand why some people might think we are giving it away. To that I say it’s our job to give the information not to sell it. The fact that we aren’t making money off of it is our problem not the viewers. Don’t punish them for our lack of monetizing.

    I’ve said this a million times the model is broken TV management & in particular sales departments are ill prepared to monetize this. I just can’t buy into withholding information for money, no other business I know of would dictate how their customers receives their products and gets away with it. Except maybe Apple. I have many ideas on how stations can make money why still giving the viewers everything they want on Social Media. Most have to so with having better websites and blogs but some are a little more creative uses of social media networks. ( Yes I can;t even get my station on board here either)

    I think a easy test for me to ask myself and anybody who thinks not using it. Is… if a person called me, emailed me or wrote me a letter(old school style) would I dare tell them to just wait until 11 to get an answer or re-direct their call? If not then I will always provide them what they want through social media.

  5. By all means, USE SOCIAL MEDIA. We are saying the exact same thing, differently. Driving people to your website IS the way to monetize. You need a HUGE presence on Social Media, but to throw it all out there without driving people to your website is nuts. I’m very proud of the steps Raycom Media has made towards monetizing money from the web. They (we) have a plan, they have hired staff, and they are paying the bills through money from the tubes of the interwebs. Posting the 7 day forecast on social media makes $0. You can not argue that fact.

  6. Jason_Elser says:

    While not in the Broadcast side of things. Let me leave a bit of an outside perspective. I believe most people in my age bracket (30-35) that have any interest in finding the weather forecast get theirs from a method other than the local TV news. Therefore the information received through the social media and apps is what they use.

    Here is a problem I do see however. For the general public user there is an ever growing problem of mis-information it seems. There are many people putting out weather information on social media that have absolutely NO weather training at all. How can we as a weather community let the public know about these kinds of things and guide them to reliable sources that will give them correct information.

    I’m not trying to put anybody down that wants to get online and talk about weather… But… There are times and situations that knowing the right information can mean the difference in life and death. In times like this we as a group I think would agree that the public needs to get information from a reliable source. In the online community there is little way to tell at times who is reliable and who is not. That is a problem that worries me.

    I while having studied weather for years and currently being in my 2nd year of college for meteorology still do not feel safe in trying to tell someone what to do. I don’t have a degree, I don’t consider myself a go to source. I will however relay information from reliable sources if asked for it and in cases of severe weather I monitor the NWS and reliable sources and keep the social media lines hot with any information I get that I can give my followers.

  7. I will start by saying my station uses one Internet Director for 4 stations and that person works hundreds of miles away. No one pushes Social Media and like others, it is up to local personalities to do it. I created our weather Facebook and Twitter account and when my boss saw the thousands of people who “liked” us, news and sports jumped on board. The good thing is we can do whatever we want with social media. The bad thing is we can do whatever we want with social media. If no one is in charge, problems will arise.

    When it comes to weather, I am a firm believer that you have to be everywhere. My generation does not sit down to watch a 6 o’clock newscasts. How you make money on other platforms is the problem but not for us. I do the best I can with what I am given and in the end, if my station does not make money from it, that is their fault and I will have to find another job.

  8. Now I come from the government side of the weather house, so I really don’t have a dog in this social media monetizing thing, but it seems to me that one thing social media can do for you is help build your reputation. If you are out there on social media on all the platforms, giving good information and interacting well with folks during the quiet weather times. I think they would be much more likely to turn to your station or web page during a time of crises.

    I think social media can be view from many sides. It is a tool to drive people to your website, it is a loss leader to help build your clout, social media can be seen as a community service or perhaps as a platform that others use during a time of crises.

    I understand the problem Kevin (and many others) with having to put our data on someone else’s platform and at a whim that platform can change the rules or block you all together. But I think we are in the Wild West phase of Social Media, where anything goes. As Margo Channing said in “All About Eve” “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”

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