6A.2 Social media and The Weather Channel

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 3:45 PM
606 (Washington State Convention Center)
Timothy D. Ballisty, The Weather Channel, Atlanta, GA

Social media. Those two words alone could define our culture over the past several years. It has radically changed how we distribute and collect information among many other things.

Weather is not immune to the social media revolution nor should it be.

The Weather Channel jumped into the world of social media during the middle of this past decade. However it wasn't until early 2009 when Facebook popularity was quickly growing and Twitter exploded onto the scene that TWC made a concerted effort to have a visible presence.

As far as TWC is concerned, Twitter has opened our eyes to a wealth of real time data and visuals. Using strategic search filters, we can obtain relevant weather information from across the United States and the world. This filtered data can help us ascertain the magnitude of a particular weather event and of course can help us distribute and publish this information on The Weather Channel and weather.com.

Twitter, more often than not, is a one-way communication platform. It can be seen as a very valuable news and weather wire service. It is, however, lacking the conversation aspect of “social” media.

But where Twitter lacks, Facebook more than makes up for.

The world of weather lends itself to open conversation. The Weather Channel Facebook fan page allows the many weather enthusiasts of the U.S. and the world to gather in one place and discuss weather (from a local level to a U.S. and international level), provide opinion and feedback and upload weather photos. The public want their weather story to be heard by the masses. They want to feel part of a weather collective. This is one way they can.

The intertwining tentacles of social media are growing. This paper will explore not only Twitter and Facebook but also other services such as Livestream and Cover it Live. The Weather Channel and weather.com continue to seek out new ways to use social media to their advantage not only in collecting relevant weather information but also disperse it. We continue to keep up with this ever-evolving new platform to gather and communicate relevant information in real-time, spread the awareness of our brand and of course keep the public safe from what Mother Nature throws at them.

Supplementary URL: http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/snow-in-las-vegas_2011-01-03

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