A Well Written Article for your non Wx friends!

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Thanks for the link, it is well-written and worth sharing.
I admittedly don't pay attention much to FB 'weather weanies', but I think the author maybe is overstating his case. Referring to several stories about Kevin Martin doesn't really convince me that there are numerous self-proclaimed weather experts out there with huge social media followings. If you promote some huge fraud, it can come back to haunt you just as easily via social media so I would think it would be fairly difficult to build a huge cult of popularity based on misinformation. Most of the weather 'geeks' I know who have big social media followings would probably be doing what they are doing even if it were for an audience of one--so I'm not sure I agree with the premise that they are mainly doing it to boost their popularity. But Im sure that plays a role in some cases--as I said, I don't really seek out that stuff.
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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There are some FB users (non-KMart) who are (well, were :) ) promoting Wednesday as a possible repeat of Moore / Tuscaloosa. They are doing it to increase their popularity.

Here in Michigan a group of non-mets has 40,000+ followers...
 
If you don't feel comfortable naming names, send me a PM, rdale, id like to know who they are! Does the Mich group spread misinformation? I don't see anything wrong with being a non-met, there are plenty of them on this site who are more versed in some aspects of the weather than some of the degreed-mets. Of course if they are intentionally spreading misinformation that's another story.
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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They toned it down after this winter thankfully... They had a habit of KMart-ing every 168hr blizzard and finally about half-way through the season (after even their followers were complaining) realized it needed to be cut back.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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One of the things I've learned with my own social media accounts is that my following numbers really get a boost for two types of posts: 1.) a photo of a big storm chasing catch that goes viral, and 2.) posting up-to-date weather information. Those two things are basically the "secret" to growing a big social media following. Unfortunately, most of the ones who have time for the second type of post are those non-mets whos hobby is to sit in front of a computer all day throwing radar grabs up, reposting watch/warning texts and making their own forecast graphics. Most of us don't have time to do that even if we wanted to, so the big followings go to those non-mets instead of knowledgeable people who only occasionally post. There are a few knowledgeable chasers who maintain quality pages with large followings, but they are the exception.
 
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rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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skywatch.org
During this winter a friend of mine who hasn't bailed on TV weather (yet :) ) did a test... As a big storm approached his posts were getting a few thousand views and hundreds of shares. When he put a Star Wars winter scene picture on his page, tens of thousands of views and thousands of shares...
 
Not at all surprising, im the FB guy at my WFO, and if I post a pic of a pretty flower or puppy dog (along with some tiny piece of relevant wx info) it will garner the most views/likes/shares, but if I post an informative story about the weather, it will get a handful. Just human nature. Same reason McDs is more popular than real food. I think understanding that can give someone who actually knows something about the weather a distinct advantage however. That's why I'm skeptical of the idea that "non-mets" can garner "huge followings" and therefore dictate public knowledge about weather/current events. If it were so easy, a met could just as easily post fancy graphics and hyped stories, then monetize their following. I'm sure it's been tried, and I know a few chasers who have successfully done this.
 
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I'll admit, I and a very good friend of mine have a weather page on FB. We just earned 1,000 followers. Our numbers grow in the event of a natural disaster, or big weather event. We had a big forest fire here before we started the page, but whenever there is any mention of fire in the area, we gain a bunch of followers because we alert them to the fact a fire is happening, and to avoid the area. We also seem to gain followers when we post a picture of a storm that moved through, or just some cool photos we have taken. It's been slow lately so, no recent ones. But we are non-mets, math killed my dream, but I am taking online education in meteorology through meted.ucar.edu. While I may not be a meteorologist, I would like to be well versed and help my community and the Central Texas area know what is going on with the weather in our region. I hope I am not being viewed as K-Mart type, but if I am, I hope someone would let me know about it.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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Notice all the pages that have titles like "(insert state/city/region here) Weather Alerts/Weather Information/Forecast Center/etc". Some of these have been around half the time I've had my page, and have followers in the five or six figures while I'm only slowly creeping up on 3,000. Notice what they do: they post many times every day about the current weather. The general public loves that type of thing (info on weather that affects them), and treats those pages as if they are official, whether it is deserved or not. Now, again, there are some responsible operators of successful pages like these (Danny Neal's is one, for instance), but for every good one, you have 10 bad ones.

Of course, the other way to quickly grow followings is to steal viral images from news sources, Twitter/Facebook users and other chasers. As I said, I only get 3 or 4 viral image events of my own each year on average, but a page that steals images can get 3 or 4 of those a day. This is how the pages like "Super Celuia", "Destructive Nature", "Mr. Twister", etc grow huge followings in a few short years. Social media currently favors the unscrupulous and misinformed - so anyone who can succeed with their own content alone these days has my respect.
 

Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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Article was on the right track, but the lack of details killed it for me. Journalism 101.... You have to include the names of the individuals who are posting the hype on social media if you are writing an article about it. Don't be afraid. If it's the truth or your own opinion then you have nothing to worry about. I think the author should have gone a step further and mentioned the other abuses, like those who post that they are assisting at disaster scenes, while they are posting images of the tornado at the same time.

W.
 
Notice all the pages that have titles like "(insert state/city/region here) Weather Alerts/Weather Information/Forecast Center/etc". Some of these have been around half the time I've had my page, and have followers in the five or six figures while I'm only slowly creeping up on 3,000. Notice what they do: they post many times every day about the current weather. The general public loves that type of thing (info on weather that affects them), and treats those pages as if they are official, whether it is deserved or not. Now, again, there are some responsible operators of successful pages like these (Danny Neal's is one, for instance), but for every good one, you have 10 bad ones.

Of course, the other way to quickly grow followings is to steal viral images from news sources, Twitter/Facebook users and other chasers. As I said, I only get 3 or 4 viral image events of my own each year on average, but a page that steals images can get 3 or 4 of those a day. This is how the pages like "Super Celuia", "Destructive Nature", "Mr. Twister", etc grow huge followings in a few short years. Social media currently favors the unscrupulous and misinformed - so anyone who can succeed with their own content alone these days has my respect.
Dan, that's interesting...I have no interest in looking at any of this stuff so it's all news to me. What is the gain, however--what is "successful" about gaining a huge following? Is anyone making anything more than pennies off of it? If it isn't money, and it's just stroking someone's ego--then who cares unless the information is hurting someone (in which case there are avenues to deal with that)? That's what I want to know.
ETA: OK, I just looked at the sites you mention...so I see what you are saying about the images. But I would think if they are posting images w/o permission once they get sued a couple times for $10,000 that would put an end to it, no?
 
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Jan 14, 2011
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Stan, I think a lot of having a large following is just bragging rights - but in some cases it does bring real-world credibility/opportunity, and a smart businessman can use it for financial gain. There have been cases where popular accounts built with stolen images were sold off handsomely once they reached a huge number. In the Mr. Twister case, prints and calendars are being pitched for sale to the followers, as well as a Kickstarter to fund a book project.

I think I could probably grow my following by leaps and bounds by going the "weather information" route for my local area, it's just that I don't have the time to devote to that. For the most part, I believe it's just trying to keep people in your local area informed with paraphrased repostings/interpretations of NWS/SPC forecasts, making nice-looking graphics showing outlooks/model predictions, and posting radar grabs/reports in real time. From what I've seen, that's the formula for success - it just takes the time and dedication to do that continually, and especially during big events (severe outbreaks and winter storms in particular). When I do post things like that on my page, people seem to appreciate it and respond favorably. I just don't have the motivation to go headlong into it, especially since I'm always out chasing/shooting video of big local events while a successful operator would be at home in front of a computer pumping out their informational posts.
 
Thanks, Dan, I hear you. I guess what I am saying is that, as you said, if it takes so much time and effort to put together all these stories and graphics up regularly--well then i think they deserver the 'success' they get-
--that's the free market way! Of course, if they are stealing images without credit given or posting hyped up stories that could potentially harm people--that's a different story and they deserve to be called out for it. I guess the problem is that no one has the time to police all this stuff, and no one wants to enforce it either, cause that alone is a major hassle and time suck. That's why I hate UTube so much, it's a sea of copyright violation and at least for now no one seems to care. It pretty much destroyed the music industry (along with other streaming services) but that's another story...
 

Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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Facebook is over rated. It's not that hard to gain thousands of followers by combining pages, farming and some other nifty tricks a lot of the well-established chasers use. The key is engagement rates. I see pages with several hundred thousand likes, but the overall engagement rates are less than 5% and I'm guessing two thirds of the total likes are dead. Facebook refuses to remove the "junk" likes because they drive marketing values by creating false, inflated numbers. Facebook use to be the social media standard, but I'm told by the marketing experts that .com pages with well designed html and good names are still at the top of the list and Facebook is rapidly falling out of favor.

As for copyright complaints against abusers... good luck. Copyrights are handled in Federal Court and the process is very expensive. Most attorneys I know will not even file the paperwork unless you have a solid case against a major corporation who can pay the damages. I've seen photographers spend $75,000 or more to go after someone, only to have the image(s) removed without any financial recovery. Re-posting of images on social media is not *viewed* as an infringement anymore, unless the image is used directly for the promotion of a business or person. If someone prints it, the case is still strong. The only way to fight this is by posting low res. images that are well watermarked so they can be tracked.

W.
 
Apr 14, 2011
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Is it good or bad that I never heard of Kevin Martin before reading that article and following the links today?

I think it's an inevitable consequence of the internet that people with...atypical frames of reference will see some of that freely-available data and run with it. It's not just weather data; maybe a more famous example would be people who self-diagnose medical conditions using internet information. You know how it goes - people do an internet search for their rash and get a choice between a grass allergy and the ultra-rare Superburnyproblygonnadietomorrow Syndrome and you know which one they're going to decide they probably have. They will even doctor-shop and adjust their complaints and reported symptoms until they find a doctor who is willing to at least explore the possibility of the exotic illness even after three or four different doctors have already correctly diagnosed them with the more mundane malady.

So it goes with those two-weeks-out forecasts. People get excited at the thought of severe weather so when they see a suggestion of it on the model, they can't help themselves - no matter how far out the projection is.
 
Jun 7, 2009
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www.facebook.com
So, I have a weather page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/OKCWX . I put time into creating forecasts. I use graphical model data, bufkit for a few locations, and cross reference with NWS forecasts and forecast discussions. It is only used as a mechanism to let my friends, and people who don't watch the news, know whats going on (to turn on the TV). I never use language that is over the top, nor do I put probability where probability does not exist. My question is, am I a weather weenie?
 
So, I have a weather page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/OKCWX . I put time into creating forecasts. I use graphical model data, bufkit for a few locations, and cross reference with NWS forecasts and forecast discussions. It is only used as a mechanism to let my friends, and people who don't watch the news, know whats going on (to turn on the TV). I never use language that is over the top, nor do I put probability where probability does not exist. My question is, am I a weather weenie?
Yes, by definition, you are a weather weenie. But, that's O.K.--just don't ever be caught driving a chase vehicle that looks like this and you will be allright :)
DontDriveThis