The Human Side of Weather
This past June, The American Meteorological Society hosted their fourth conference on Weather Warning and Communication. During this conference Daniel Hawblitzel of the National Weather Service (NWS) in Pleasant Hill, MO presented on the use of social media and developing trust with the citizens of your region.
Every meteorologist knows our field is dynamic and requires constant progress to maintain proficiency. The occupation of forecaster within the field is ever more so. Not only is there the issue of Mother Nature changing her mind after a forecast is released, but then there is the issue of dealing with the public’s reaction to the error in the forecasts. Mr. Hawblitzel presented an extensive series of twitter threads and Facebook posts and comments showing the development of trust between the citizens and the NWS of Pleasant Hill. He also shows how society can be inspired into interest when passion is shown by the members of the weather community when there is a new development in technology, or a rare weather phenomenon occurs. However, there will always be those select few that view the world through their half empty glass, and part of maintaining a social media presence is dealing with those individuals.
Mr. Hawblitzel discusses the need to diffuse the negativity in comment threads when a forecast is wrong, and on occasion sites the mission statement of the NWS and the hopes that the extreme weather occasionally forecasted do not occur. The presentation given by Mr. Hawblitzel is a testament to the fact that community involvement is one of the primary ways to increase outreach and decrease casualties caused by weather. A community that is interested and involved in their regional weather programs is better educated and prepared for the worst case weather scenario.
Author: Christopher R. Barns
More Information: The Human Side of Weather: Using Social Media to Build Trust with Your Users - Daniel Hawblitzel, NWS, Pleasant Hill, MO