Social Media & the Socialization of the Weather
The debate over Climate Change rages on as it has turned into not a scientific discussion but a political one. However one aspect relating to the weather is changing at a tremendous speed, from the way we forecast, to collecting data, communicate with the public and share experiences, the socialization of weather has taken us by storm! (sorry had to throw the pun in!) Just take a moment to think about how in the past you received a forecast...5 years ago it was probably through television and maybe a website like weather.com or noaa.gov...15 years ago maybe it was only The Weather Channel and your local newspaper...30 years ago it was your local television station and the radio. Now think of all the ways you find out weather forecasts... from Twitter and Facebook to local and national Television stations, and millions of websites. Yet now you don't just receive a forecast on a one way stream of information, now you share your experiences, you send in your weather reports, talk to the meteorologist in front of and behind the camera. That one way road of information has now become an 8 lane super highway in both directions. This is the Socialization of Weather.
How Has the Weather become Social?
I have to admit socialization of weather is a very broad phrase, with a multitude of aspects and dimensions, as so much of social media also has. It was only a matter of time before social media would have an impact on the weather industry and the weather dialog in the United States and around the world. As i mentioned before social media broke the typical flow of information from a one way street to really an eight lane rotary going in both directions.
- Collection of Data via social media (temp reports, rain reports, snow reports, weather observations)
- Informing Public of Weather dangers through multiple mediums (most important and lifesaving!)
- Sharing weather experiences (weather related photos and videos)
- Interaction with Meteorologist (beyond the TV screen!)
My Instagram Weather PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Examples of Social Weather
Jim Cantore on Twitter: Before he was just the enthusiastic Weather man on The Weather Channel, now you can follow him on Twitter, ask him questions, get his personal/professional opinion on weather events.
The Weather Channels iWitness: A part of The Weather Channel's website, it is a section where the viewers send in weather reports, via photos and videos. This reversal of information even gets many people's photos and videos on air!
WTNH WxEdge.com WxEdge is a site developed by a local ABC New affiliate WTNH in New Haven, CT. It is a site hosted by United Illuminating (a local power company) focused on the weather. The site is monitored, run and filled with content by the stations Meteorologist as well as members of the community including myself!!! Members of the WxEdge team are considered contributors and write articles on anything weather related as well as make slide shows and videos. The site is a great space for local weather enthusiasts and meteorologist to have in depth discussions, share experiences, and alert the public to weather events.
Instagram: Although the social app is not focused specifically on weather, it is another medium in which weather is shared amongst the world, making a local event a global one.
Do you follow the weather via social media?
one of the biggest benefits of the Socialization of weather is also its largest problem and that is: Everyone has an opinion!! Whether it's reasonable or not, social media can spread very important information related to the weather but it can also spread misinformation just as quickly, hyping up storms when no hype is needed, or back lash to a meteorologist's wrong forecast. When people hide behind a computer screen they feel they can say anything. However even with the bad, the socialization of weather has saved so many lives and keeps people informed and in a strange way maybe a little bit closer to nature...
- Hurricane Irene slams the Connecticut Coast! Photos!
photos from Hurricane Irene along the Milford, CT coast line.
- Hail or Sleet? There is a difference!
A brief discussion of the difference of hail and sleet. Includes how hail and sleet form and under what atmospheric conditions, also includes extreme videos of hail events. Written in response to misuse of these weather terms.