The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Social Media and Weather

with 2 comments

Picture courtesy @chrisdoidge on Twitter

I write this a huge thunder storm has just passed through making the roof of my contact centre rattle and some car alarms go off. Small beer for some parts of the world but a pretty big deal for June in England. It got me thinking of the connections between Social Media and weather.

The first obvious story is the reporting of extreme weather conditions via Social Media. Facebook and Twitter are ideal media for real-time reporting of activity compared to the effective, but not detailed, radio and TV. If you want to know what is happening right now in your area, to your friends, SM is the way forward.  James Spann has over 90,000 followers on his Facebook page which posts and hosts news about tornados in Alabama. In his own words during the extreme 2011 tornados: “Facebook and Twitter usage was critical… I will tell you right now there are people who are walking around in Tuscaloosa Alabama … because these people got the tornado warning via Facebook or Twitter”. The same phenomenon has been reported for bush fires and tsunamis where real-time is the only time that matters.

Powerful stuff but it also turns out that weather is a common topic on social media, as in everyday life, in less dramatic circumstances. The volume is being exploited by apps such as Metwit. Twitter in particular is a mobile information source and one of the strengths of Social Media over other channels is the volume of hyperlocal information available. In any big city you can have different weather conditions in different parts of town. Most weather forecasts in any other media, at best, provide hourly updates but if I am going shopping in half an hour I want to know whether to take an umbrella or not. Apps such as Metwit give a real-time, hyperlocal (to the extent it can give you updates close to your current GPS position) which is actually meaningful for you.

The other interesting dynamic of social media usage is the impact of weather on usage and how it can be exploited. Retailers are already beginning to use time-of-day statistics to work out when to post offers and the tone of social messages. They already know the impact of weather on fashion and footfall. It figures that people may be more active on social media when the weather is poor and less active when the sun shines. Understanding the community and what they are doing is critical. There is no point in posting offers at times when the community are unlikely to be able to take them up and pointless offering ice-cream on days like today!

Written by greencontact

June 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

2 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on AshbourneVoice and commented:
    Social Media and Weather. A piece I wrote on my GreenContact blog


    July 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

  2. Something I never thought about, but definitely see it now. Insightful post!


    July 9, 2012 at 5:00 am

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