Thursday, February 18, 2016

Social Media Storm

When I started in this business in 1997, television was a one way street.  We talked, you listened.  Social media changed all that several years ago and we can argue for better or worse.  I believe with any new technology, it has pros and cons, but the pros far outweigh anything bad.  I embraced social media with opened arms and I'm glad I did in light of how everything is evolving.  Gone are the days TV stations need a stick on top of a mountain to communicate.  It can all be done personally with a smart phone anywhere and anytime.

There's a real debate going on in the broadcast meteorology community surrounding how information is disseminated. I'll admit, I have been completely blind over the past few months or years about how many in our profession utilize automated scheduled tweeting.  I have always been under the impression media is a one way street, but social media makes it two ways.  In my opinion, once you take the interactivity out, you have removed the social from social media.  Some in my business refer to it as "antisocial media".

We now have the ability to communicate at anytime of day answering questions, giving opinions, talking about upcoming weather, etc.  One North Carolina TV meteorologist said something that has really stuck with me, "If you're doing TV weather on social media, you're doing it wrong."  That's one of the many reasons you will rarely ever see me put out my daily or 7 day forecast on Twitter or Facebook.  I try to give you more, but keep you coming to the TV when the news is on.  Meteorologists now hold the title of promotion producers as well trying to draw as large of an audience as possible for our stations newscasts.

While we're competitors in Little Rock, what you see on Twitter is the real deal.  No one in this market, Jonesboro, or Fayetteville is sending out automated tweets.  There's a real person behind each one.  I'm proud to be a part of the lively hashtag #ARWX.  Many meteorologists at all stations put countless hours into it on the clock and even at home on their off hours.

Why am I bringing this up?  Be careful with what you see on the #ARWX Twitter hashtag.  My hope is it continues to be a two way street, but others have differing ideas.  I have kindly asked for a few meteorologists in Missouri to drop the #ARWX from their automated tweeting.  By all means, I want them included since there are several counties in northern Arkansas in their viewing area.  My request has apparently been denied and that's just the way it goes. All I can do is continue on with my philosophy towards social media and once again, I'm proud our TV market and all 4 stations haven't turned to this automated scheduled tweeting.

How will you know what's automated and what's authentic?  You will notice tweets coming from the same people saying the same thing at the same time each day.  Mute it or unfollow it, it's your choice.  They can do this using a program and I'll illustrate that below.  Also below are the results from a Twitter poll I started yesterday.  With more than 600 votes, it's overwhelming what you want.

Thanks for reading

IFTTT is the program used for automation.  When you see this, you now know.


Doug Hibbard said...

Todd, another scheduled tweeting service is Buffer--I use both IFTTT and Buffer myself for some link posting, because I read blog stuff about once a day but don't want to burst out 10 links at one time.

For weather, though, I think you're right to keep it live and not automate the work. And those "via..." tags on Twitter do help readers to see what is and isn't live.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for making a two-way street. Since our antenna doesn't pick up channel 7 down here in Landmark (which is odd,) we get our weather from you, Melinda, and the rest either online or in your radio spots.

Anonymous said...

Todd, as usual, I appreciate all that you do on social media and of course on air.

I couldn't agree more with your simple request on automated tweets to remove the hashtag, but I greatly appreciate you educating me on what to look for when disseminating information.

Thank you again sir!

03msc said...

For those who don't know, IFTTT (pronounced like gift without the g) stands for If This, Then That. So, in this case the rule the guy is using is basically "if ___ happens, then tweet it using {pre-designed tweet text}". The ___ that happens could be a web graphic being updated, or whatever, and could happen automatically without human interaction.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to respond to this on Twitter but do not feel like having to field angry and vicious tweets from people you know. I have seen this happen whenever anyone is critical of you or Ryan Vaughan.

I did not see you kindly ask the meteorologists in question to refrain from automated tweets when this issue popped up in the hashtag. I did see a lot of passive aggressive tweets, however. I'm not a fan of this kind of pettiness on the #arwx tag. It's not the first time I've seen it.

A few automated tweets are not that big of a deal. The automated severe weather tweets are ridiculous. I have muted/blocked so many of those feeds but they still clog up the hashtag. They almost make the tag useless.

Every so often there are the squabble/disagreement/petty BS/etc. type of tweets between and among various weather geeks and meteorologists on the tag. I would love for those types of tweets to not use the #arwx hashtag. Isn't the heart of this discussion about what actual viewers and regular folks (such as myself) looking for weather information would find useful?

Don Ferren said...

I don't mind those automated posts if they're from a generic account for a station, instead of from a specific forecaster. I'd likely even follow such an account on Twitter, as long as there were only a few posts a day from them. I'd say even then it's still appropriate to put the [state]WX hashtag since it IS important weather info, even if automated.

For example, if the LR NWS office automated those Twitter and Facebook posts about this day in weather history, and tagged it with #ARWX, I wouldn't mind that at all.

Todd Yakoubian said...

To the comment about my "passive aggressive" tweets. I understand what you are saying and can see how it comes off that way. It's mostly my bad attempt at sarcasm. I regret if it came off like that.

Anonymous said...

On a different note, would somebody please start a rain dance? This horrible, every day wind is suffocating allergy sufferers. We desperately need relief in the form of rain.

Anonymous said...

Hey Todd,

I appreciate that my comment was published and your response to it. I want to add one more thing. Is it possible that the meteorologists in question perceived those tweets the same way I did? Would they have been more receptive to a DM or something phrased a bit differently from the start?

Something like...

Hello @Sallyweatherperson or @Jimmywx, have you considered how your automated weather tweets are being perceived by those who follow the #arwx hashtag?

If you had done the twitter poll first you could have pointed to the results which were overwhelmingly in favor of authentic tweets. You could say...see, it's not just me (or other meteorologists) who feel that way. Many viewers/twitter users share the same viewpoint.

Than again...maybe the result would have been the same. Who knows? Just something to consider.

Now that I have been critical I also want to say that I do enjoy your weather blog. I am a "long time listener, first time caller" so to speak. I am also someone that has had her own sarcastic remarks (on forums and social media) perceived in ways I didn't intend. It is hard to convey tone online.

Again thanks for taking the time to reply. Also...what are your thoughts on spamming the #blametodd hashtag with automated scheduled tweets? Haha. I kid, I kid.

Anonymous said...

My main problem comes with the Central Missouri weather metts near Springfield and the lake of the Ozarks area who keep sending the annoying automated tweets about a chance of snow up in Osage Beach Missouri or Springfield on arwx weather hashtag. Those guys up north in central Missouri have almost zero reach in northern Arkansas and most of those central Missouri metts. could care less what the weather was in Bentonville or any part of Arkansas .So I say yes to no more automated tweets especially to the central Missouri mets need to stop spaming the arwx weather hashtag with their automated tweets.

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