The advent of social media and other emerging technologies offers tremendous opportunities to expand the distribution, and personalization, of these warnings. Recent social media research1 indicates that one in five Americans has listened to an audio podcast, one in three Americans has a profile on a social networking site and more than 4 in 10 Americans with a profile on a social networking sites visit those sites at least once every day. Social media sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook receive as many as 250 million visitors each month. In addition to social media technologies, mobile communications are revolutionizing the weather enterprise. Mobile devices will be the world's primary connection tool to the Internet in 2020.
The National Weather Service (NWS) chartered an Emerging Technologies Integrated Work Team in 2009. This team's charter is to evaluate technologies that will enable the NWS to better communicate its warning information, better enable others within the enterprise through the provision of weather information in industry standard formats, and offer a smart approach in leveraging emerging technologies that enhance warning services nationwide. Research conducted by this team should help focus an approach for the NWS into social media, and provide an emphasis on how NWS efforts will enable more effective infusion of societal impacts in the communication of severe weather information.
1 Source: Social Media 101 Department of Health and Human Services http://newmedia.hhs.gov/socialmedia101.html