Kari K. Bowen National Weather Service Denver/Boulder
ABSTRACT The accessibility of the Internet is far better than it has ever been before. With the introduction of Facebook and Twitter the public can access information faster and from just about any geographic location. The communicative power of social media cannot be denied. This is proven by systematically analyzing the Facebook analytics for various National Weather Service (NWS) offices before, during and after the 2013 September floods of Colorado as well as Hurricane Sandy. The analysis of the data surrounds four Facebook measurements: “likes” or new followers to NWS social media pages during the events, “reach” of posts amongst the public and “engagement” with NWS social media pages. Age information was isolated within the data and shown to be normally distributed with the majority of users falling between the ages of 25 to 54. A chi-square test was conducted within statistical software to further prove this distribution. The information garnered from these parameters will help show the impact that social media can have when communicating weather information. A better understanding of social media could help agencies such as the NWS and emergency management communicate weather information to the public faster and potentially save lives.