Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Use Twitter? It's a Perfect Fit for Meteorologists.

Today was a relatively slow day for weather news. Cold weather is happening in Iowa as a system moves slowly Eastward. My kids who used to live in Iowa are in Seattle as they really don't like snow and ice in Mid-March. It's snowing in Minneapolis today not Boston.

How do I know? Well, other than I do weather I can obviously Google it! To be honest though Google gives you a consensus of various weather sites and if you hit the news button you will get a news story that may or may not relate to you. 

Truth is weather stories take time to write and evolve and are updated in real time, plus the time it takes to post. And, they are often as relevant as the updated version. I've seen Twisters hit somewhere in Oklahoma and the AP report will say "no deaths reported" which always makes me wince, as it's rare to have a F4 touch down in a populated area and have no one die. But, much like a tree falling in the forest, if no one is there to hear it does it make a sound or not? The story becomes updated with a small death toll and a high count of missing people. That story becomes updated again with a higher death count and less missing people. Stories evolve slowly even on the Internet. 

Yet on Twitter the news comes in fast in real time and is verified often just as fast. Twitter is the easiest jumping off point to write a story or to learn about what is happening.  I look down at my phone, go to Twitter and there I am in IKEA in Renton (a town near Seattle made famous for.. having the Seattle area IKEA store...) and immediately I find out there was hail and severe weather in Missouri and Arkansas. I also found out they found the "black box" for some plane I didn't even know had crashed into the Alps. 

A random moment in my Twitter feed is mostly WEATHER RELATED STORIES...  with a mix of other things I am interested in from sports to news to finding out what happened on General Hospital while shopping for things I don't really need in IKEA while on vacation.

And, the joy of Twitter is you can scroll FAST without hurting Aunt Minnie's feelings or not getting lost in 20 family posts or having to endure endless rants on politics by relatives and friends you don't have the nerve to unfriend. To be honest there is a saying you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family... or something like that and that applies to Facebook. Cousin Martha is really annoyed that you didn't read her entire rant about the family reunion. The National Weather Service in Seattle and Miami isn't devastated to find out that you didn't read their post or look at their beautiful sunrise picture. Whereas on Facebook the lady you used to work with who is a cousin by marriage to your Aunt Samantha is annoyed you didn't read her entire post about how the cat got out and was chased by the dog who was attacked  by the neighbor's dog who already attacked two poodles and a bunny rabbit last month. You stand there at Publix staring at her like a deer in the headlights when she asks why you didn't call to check on her injured pooch and are afraid to say "oh uh I didn't know" because you know darn well she will call Aunt Samantha and complain that some people ignore her on Facebook.  Come on... you know this happens .... or something like it. Beauty of Twitter is you CAN pick your friends and family of tweeting buddies... and most likely Aunt Martha isn't even on Twitter and half of your family members started an account, but never kept it going. And, if they did...they can only write 180 characters and that's easy enough to read if you want to..

On Twitter you are almost anonymous as you sail through stories of interest and scroll past stories you have no interest in reading. You click on links you want to see or ignore them for things you were looking for faster than it takes to debate whether to wish someone Happy Birthday on Facebook. 

Yes it only has 180 characters. I'm sorry, it's not a long read. That's what my blog is for... people who like long reads. It's not the New York Times and it's not a friendly chat room though there are ways to chat in private messages. My daughter told me to be careful with that as that's how Anthony Weiner lost his ummm .... the respect of his constituents. I told her don't worry the only pics I'm passing around are weather pics... but don't say I didn't warn ya...or you could go down in flames.

Depending on the day or the moment you can get enough of a Cliff Notes view of more than you want to know about anything you are interested in and to me that's what I love about Twitter. 

Years back I couldn't get into it. I am obviously someone who writes in more than 140 characters . . .

Everyone was talking about Twitter and I couldn't wrap my long winded head around it. And, then I needed information on the Earthquake in Japan for an article I was writing and voila the world opened up for me in seconds. In real time my feed flew by with real, relevant facts on every detail about the disaster that was barely visible on CNN or FOX. Not even Drudge was showing info then that I needed... Whether the stories were from Reuters or Russia Today I was getting information I needed in a fast, quick format. Yes, you have to verify, but whether I was Lois Lane back when or whether I am BobbiStorm today a good reporter always has to verify. But, on Twitter I could tailor make the results for what I was writing and verify on another site faster than you could say "Okay, NOW I GET TWITTER" and it's the place I hide, read info and scroll through while ignoring my various email accounts as well as 500 people who are not really my closest friends on Facebook. No, it's not a good message board or chat room during the Hurricane Season when there is a Cat 4 headed for Miami, but to tell you the truth that doesn't happen all the time. Twitter is live and immediate, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year  ... 86,400 seconds in a day and when a news story is breaking that's how fast your feed flies... or if there's a big story going on at #GH the feed flies faster than a witch on a broomstick caught up in a Twister.........

Trust me if you get used to Snapchat that allows a whole 31 characters....... you will begin to feel you can write a novella on Twitter. And, there are ways around the 31 characters, but you'll have to Google that or look around on Twitter.

It's raining right now in Seattle after a beautiful day with mixed sun and clouds.

But on Twitter I can find out the most interesting Seattle Trivia ...

Seems when it rains in Seattle, art appears ;)

Hey to each his own. I know a lot of people who check their weather apps to see if it's raining before going outside when they are only steps from the door. Know how I know it's not just me? I read it on Twitter this morning and laughed. And, then... I moved on fast to a story on El NINO, MJO and how sunspots may or may not affect the coming Hurricane Season.

To test how fast news is available put in #MOWX if you are reading this Tuesday evening and you will get weather info in real time, fast real time. Or #hail or #storm or #snow or 

What's a Hashtag? # ???

Try #sunspots

Try it... you may be surprised and if you really need more than 140 characters. You know where to find me. aka

Besos Bobbi

Ps... Women meteorologist of the day is Chrissy Warrilow.

"Chrissy Warrilow is thrilled to serve the state of Georgia as a member of the GPB New Media Team and as a meteorologist. After growing up in Alpharetta, Chrissy graduated from Georgia Tech in 2007 with her degree in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Chrissy’s experience includes internships with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Cumulus Radio in Atlanta, and WGCL-TV CBS Atlanta. She is a member of the Metro Atlanta chapter of the American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association, as well as the Iota (Georgia Tech) Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Fraternity for College and University Bands"


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