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NWS and Twitter


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Given on May 25, 2011 to the Emergency Management Association of Georgia

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NWS and Twitter

  1. 1. 2011 Georgia Emergency Management Summit and Training Session Twitter and the National Weather Service By Tim Brice WFO El Paso May 25 th , 2011
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Twitter 101 </li></ul><ul><li>Weather tweets </li></ul><ul><li>Hash tags </li></ul><ul><li>Storm Reports via Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages/Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>NWS/Twitter Future </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why even consider Twitter <ul><li>It is where the people are. </li></ul><ul><li>It is how the public are </li></ul><ul><li>communicating. </li></ul><ul><li>It is how the public is getting their news. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Rather than trying to convince the public to adjust to the way we at FEMA communicate, we must adapt to the way the public communicates by leveraging the tools that people use on a daily basis” </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate </li></ul><ul><li>May 5 th 2011 Senate Subcommittee testimony </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is Twitter? According to Twitter , Twitter is: “ without a doubt the best way to share and discover what is happening right now.” Perhaps a less biased description of Twitter would: “ Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets .” - Wikipedia
  5. 5. What is a Tweet? It is a 140 character (or less) message that a user (tweeter) sends out that is posted on their Twitter home page and also sent to the tweeter’s subscribers called followers? <ul><li>Tweets can include: </li></ul><ul><li>A simple text message </li></ul><ul><li>Links to a picture </li></ul><ul><li>Links to a web page </li></ul>
  6. 6. The advantages of Twitter <ul><li>Large user database </li></ul><ul><ul><li>200+ million users around the world. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50+ million users in the U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Easy to get tweets into Twitter via web page, text, app, even land line phones. </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to search tweets and get results through various programs and apps. </li></ul>
  7. 7. What Weather Info People Tweet <ul><li>Eyewitness weather info </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Golf ball size hail at my house” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Benign weather info </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Sunny and warm today” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weather information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ There is flooding on the east side of town.” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. How to hear and be heard <ul><li>Almost 65 million tweets a day </li></ul><ul><li>How can you cut through all the junk to send or receive useful information? </li></ul><ul><li>The answer is using tweet hash tags. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What are tweet hash tags <ul><li>Anyone can make up a hash tag </li></ul><ul><li>Example of hash tags are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#EMAG11 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#braves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#savannah </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hash tags allow someone to follow all the posts related to the hash tag. </li></ul><ul><li>You can have more than one hast tag in a tweet </li></ul>
  10. 10. Weather Hash Tags <ul><li>Eyewitness weather info </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#wxreport </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Benign weather info </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#wxob </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weather information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#STwx (where ST is your state abbrev.) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Weather Hash Tags <ul><li>#wxreport </li></ul><ul><li>#wxob </li></ul><ul><li>#STwx (where &quot;ST&quot; is your state two letter id) </li></ul><ul><li>For the #wxreport, it would cover significant weather the tweeter actually saw and would include: tornado, hail, snow greater than an inch, dense fog and dust, floods, strong winds etc. </li></ul><ul><li>For the #wxob, it would cover weather observed that was not significant and would include: standard weather obs, non-significant weather etc. </li></ul><ul><li>For the #STwx, it would cover weather information that would be useful to the public and would include: reported storm tracks, reported storm damages, road closures, watch and warning information etc. </li></ul>
  12. 12. NWS and Twitter The National Weather Service wants to tap into this army of weather enthusiasts (trained and untrained) who use Twitter and give them a quick easy way to transmit their weather reports.
  13. 13. What do the tweeters do? (public information page)
  14. 14. #wxreport plotted
  15. 15. #wxreport plotted
  16. 16. #wxreport plotted
  17. 17. Advantages/Disadvantages <ul><li>Advantages: </li></ul><ul><li>Potential to receive hundreds of weather tweets </li></ul><ul><li>You can monitor the tweets yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Real time feedback for ongoing weather </li></ul><ul><li>Reports and pictures and videos, oh my! </li></ul><ul><li>Did I mention that it is free!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages : </li></ul><ul><li>Some junk and spam tweets and incorrect observations </li></ul><ul><li>Some tweeters are not following the specific format </li></ul>
  18. 18. NWS Twitter Future <ul><li>Continue the Storm Reports via Twitter Project </li></ul><ul><li>June 1 st Eight test offices get Twitter account including NHC </li></ul><ul><li>County/Parish based Twitter accounts to feed warnings to </li></ul><ul><li>If testing goes well, all office to get a Twitter account in the future. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li> Tim Brice </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@timbrice17 </li></ul><ul><li>NWS – El Paso TX </li></ul>Storm reports via Twitter project information (#wxreport): 3 rd Party page showing the mapped tweets: This presentation: Weather hash tags #wxreport , #wxob and #STwx Questions???