New Stormtrack Facebook Group

Discussion in 'STORMTRACK: Announcements' started by Steve Miller, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Steve Miller

    Steve Miller Owner
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    Good afternoon!
    Over the past couple of months, a small handful of members have tested the viability of a supplemental Stormtrack Group on Facebook. At this time I'd like to invite anyone interested in participating on Facebook to navigate to https://www.facebook.com/groups/Stormtrack/ and sign up. Rules will be the same and we still hold content to the highest level. Moderators are the same as here on the site.
    Let's give this a try and see if it's viable.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Stormtrack/
     
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  2. Jim Phillips

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    If people start posting to the Facebook group, won't that diminish the forums here on stormstrack.org? (Full disclosure: I can't stand Facebook.)
     
  3. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    We're experimenting to see how it goes.
     
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  4. Warren Faidley

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    I would think it's one or the other? I'm not a big fan of Facebook due to their "authoritarian" attitude and lack of human assistance when serious issues occur. They once locked my business account when I signed in from an "unfamiliar" location while chasing and I was unable to end a marketing project that cost me a large sum of money.

    I'm also not sure how you would categorize topics like you do here?

    There are many very successful groups and organizations still using this type of format.

    Just my thoughts from someone who started with Dave's printed versions.
     
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  5. JamesCaruso

    JamesCaruso Member

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    I am worried about this move diminishing participation in the Forum. People are not going to take the time to post both places. Any activity on FB, even if it is just an "experiment," is going to cannibalize this Forum.

    I second Warren's point about the lack of curation on FB.

    Also, admittedly I don't know enough about how to use FB productively, but it seems to me that everything is going to stream together chronologically, both chasing-related and non-chasing related stuff.

    Plenty of chasers already have a FB presence, but what this Forum format accomplishes is something different and worthwhile so I can't see the value of putting it on FB. There is always a right tool for the job, so let the Forum do what it does best, let FB do what it does best, but try to combine the two and you will get a total that is less than the sum of its parts.

    FWIW, like Warren, I've also been around long enough to have been a subscriber to the print edition.


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  6. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    I agree that organization of posts (including grouping by general topic as well as chronological ordering) are likely pitfalls with a Facebook-based forum.

    However, worries about reduced participation on the website here are unnecessary, because usage is already at an all-time low. Site usage (measured by metrics such as active users, post counts, thread counts, media usage etc.) tends to follow an annual cycle with a peak during the spring associated with chase season. If you look at the cycle over the last few years, by all of these metrics, there is a noticeable exponential decay going on. The peak we had this year was lower than last year's peak, and so on. We're already at a point where forum participation is about as low as it can get (i.e., the numbers are approaching an asymptote likely forced by the true "core" of the site). The forum at this point is mostly held up by a core of about a dozen or so members who post regularly, whereas the rest is occasional posts from folks who only drop in every few months or so, but otherwise are not really engaged in the site. Therefore, the way I personally see it (I do not know if SMOK or other admins feel similarly), we can really only go up from here. This core group of people is not likely to move over to facebook because they've already have the chance to do so and yet still post here regularly.
     
  7. Brian McKibben

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    I prefer this forum over fb. I feel that when someone post here they have something of value to add. Whereas fb is littered with links and post that don't interest me. Perhaps the fb forum will be different but I prefer stormtrack. I do see that traffic is definitely down simply from the participation rate. But much like the medialine wxline from early 2000s I still find value in the ST community. Btw. I think medialine is pretty much dead simply bc of a user exodus. Rdale used to post on there a lot

    Sent from my SM-G920P using Stormtrack mobile app
     
  8. Steve Miller

    Steve Miller Owner
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    Yeah, I have a feeling the FB experiment will be short. I'm leaning more toward highlighting live chat to promote more real-time conversation here on the site. This site and its content WILL NOT go away, however, we will need to adjust our approach as we move forward in order to keep things relevant. I'm open to ideas.
     
  9. JamesCaruso

    JamesCaruso Member

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    I wish I had some ideas Steve, but to offer ideas I would need to have an understanding of *why* participation in ST is down, and who/what the Forum's "competition" is, i.e. where people are going instead. I just don't have an understanding of that. I mean I can understand why people abandoned WX-CHASE - there are far better technologies for this sort of thing than email. The inability to curate content, or embed photos and videos, and having to wade through a lot of individual emails that may or may not have relevance to the reader, certainly makes it easy to understand why WX-CHASE has become a ghost town. My assumption is that all the chasers are on FB now. I understand that even CFDG is now defunct. But FB has two of the same three negatives that killed the WX-CHASE list - lack of curation, and having to wade through a stream of irrelevance (which would even include non-chasing-related stuff, unless there is functionality in FB that I don't know about). I honestly cannot understand any technological disadvantage to the ST Forum, whether accessing it on the web, or on a mobile device using the app or using Tapatalk. There are tons of other special interest groups and communities that use similar forum formats. I mean even a mainstream app like TripAdvisor has a similar setup and user experience in my opinion.

    So if it's not the medium, then what exactly is the problem?? Is it a bunch of elitist veterans that think they are too advanced to participate in a "mainstream" chaser forum?? Is it a case of chasers looking down their noses at allegedly unfavorable "signal to noise" ratios and flame wars (which I have not experienced on here in quite awhile, especially since Steve and the current group of moderators took over)? What exactly is the problem? Why is there not more participation? Where else can chasers even go for a sense of community and curated content?

    Maybe a Survey Monkey survey could be sent to the inactive members, and perhaps other chasers including the veterans that are not on ST could be solicited for their opinions.

    Here's a possible thought as I write this - perhaps with FB, chasers have more a sense of ownership, i.e., "I am building *my* page"?? Whereas on ST you post *to* the Forum so a contributors content is sprinkled all over the place? Of course, you can always pull up your own posts easy enough... But imagine if there was a way to cross-reference the content so that you could also bring up your "own" stuff, for example filter on your username and you see the whole Forum in the same hierarchical curated outline format but only your own stuff, so it kind of becomes like your own web page structured and curated the same way as the overall Forum?? Just a thought as I struggle to consider what others might see as an advantage of FB... The only thing I can think of is that they like going just one place for all their online interactions, one-stop-shopping so to speak, but again doesn't that just mix everything in your stream, chasing and non-chasing alike??? And if they are setting up separate profiles for chasing, well then there goes the one-stop-shopping excuse... I mean I know at nearly 50 I may be starting to fall behind in technology and set in my ways, but I'm no Luddite either; I honestly can't see why chasers wouldn't want to b here, particular not a technological reason.

    Sorry for rambling...

    Jim



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  10. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    I'll posit a reason - the demographics (not race/gender, etc, but more personality traits) and population of the storm chasing community have significantly changed over the last 10-20 years. While I don't know the numbers or history with a great deal of accuracy, I'm pretty sure that before Twister the chase community was comprised exclusively of atmospheric scientists, degreed meteorologists, and a handful of photojournalists who happened to catch onto the game early (e.g., Dave Hoadley and Warren Faidley). After Twister you had a jump in population that included fewer experienced/knowledgeable mets than the original generation. Then came my generation, the Discovery StormChasers generation, who have generally been chasing 10 years or less. My generation has rather few trained meteorologists/atmospheric scientists and is full of weather enthusiasts, IT people, adrenaline junkies, and others who would never otherwise be chasing had the hobby not been exposed on a major TV network show.

    Today's storm chasing community is probably more enthusiasts and tech people than actual trained meteorologists/atmospheric scientists. It was the original generation that was mostly mets/atmos scientists that were heavily invested in documenting and sharing stories of chases. Whereas there is a substantial fraction of today's chasers that don't care so much about rigorous documentation or story telling. A lot of them just want "likes", "shares", and "favorites" on Facebook and Twitter, and the best of them also get a small paycheck for streaming it to TWC or some other local media station - an insignificant fraction of these people are interested in writing chase accounts and sharing stories. Those that are into doing that make up Stormtrack's remaining core.

    In that regard, technology is part of the problem (consider the "feeder bar for likes and attention on social media" attitude), but the other part is the makeup of the community is much different than it used to be. Most chasers nowadays just don't see the value in taking the time to come here and discuss stuff.

    I like this idea. I think the staff will have a discussion on this.
     
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  11. Randy Jennings

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    First let me say I am grateful for Stormtrack and everyone who posts on here. I've learned so much hover the years.

    I've only been active for a couple of years hear, but I will say that few years there has been a mood change here. When I first started here there was far more Target Area discussion and general meteorological Q&A. Now days there is less of that and more discussion about tripods in the road, police road blocks, etc (although on the bright side there are less light bar discussions). Some of that is healthy, but I think there comes a time when some folks tire of it. Of course the state of the season plays a role too. In less active seasons there is less to discuss. I'm sure changing demographics and things like social media play a role too.
     
  12. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    Actually, now that I think about it longer, you could argue that Stormtrack is actually returning to the "old days" with reduced membership that consists of a core of more "hardcore" involved chasers who really still care about the underlying ideologies that originally made Stormtrack something - the interest and desire to discuss the weather, especially as it pertains to severe local convective storms, and to document it and share stories of chases on the Plains.

    What this site was in the 2000s was probably an anomaly, a bursting of the community as membership surged (but brought with it the infighting and politics that would happen to any group that sees a significant surge of people that wouldn't usually show up). It hit a critical point and there was a meltdown. What has remained since then is more like what the community was before the surge.
     
  13. Marc R. O'Leary

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    I like the live chat during active events. I've found it very useful, once you wade through the jokes and typical chat commentary, to help me to decide where to position. Often there are people armchair chasing because they simply can't be there for that event, but they offer beneficial analysis and advice. I've done it, but can't say I've ever really offered anything useful yet.

    The one gripe with live chat is the very short history. Someone may mention something useful, and on an active day, within minutes that information is gone and if one is just periodically checking the chat, that information is lost.

    My vote on facebook: no thanks.
     
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  14. Brian McKibben

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    I miss the NOW thread from target area. I used that like live chat to discuss current events on significant days. Especially since most of my chases over the past 10 years have been arm chair chases. It seems that particular thread was stopped due to people needing time to reflect on events before posting. So a live chat would be welcome to me. I am always glued to the computer during weather. Snow. Severe. Or tropical.

    Sent from my SM-G920P using Stormtrack mobile app
     
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  15. TJKLECKNER

    TJKLECKNER Member

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    Agreed
     
  16. JamesCaruso

    JamesCaruso Member

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    Jeff that is a great insight, I think you are absolutely right. Like you said, there is a much bigger population of chasers now and we're kind of expecting them all to congregate here but it's just a subset of chasers, a niche within a niche, that enjoys the discussion, documentation, and "underlying ideologies" as you put it. Back when ST was in print, there were far fewer chasers in total, but still the number of ST subscribers was probably way less than the number of chasers. And those who took the time to write and submit chase accounts were any even smaller proportion. So maybe there is no problem to be solved here, as long as we agree that ST has a value proposition that other technological platforms such as FB don't offer, we can't be all things to all people, we can't go for quantity over quality, as long as we don't think we're missing anything or that we're "losing" members to a "competitor" (such as I used to feel when CFDG was around, you could only get into that by invitation and if you weren't part of the club you were left out in the cold...)


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  17. JamesCaruso

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    Another thought about FB - despite it supposedly being a way to interact, I see it more as everybody just putting "look at me" stuff out there. It seems pretty unidirectional to me. The "interaction" is limited to likes or comments. Very different than ST.

    Although I have been chasing 20 years, it doesn't amount to a ton of time in the field when it's limited to two-week or less chase vacations. There is a LOT that I don't know. And you can't get better without feedback - a key component of what's known as "deliberate practice." I often wish I had a meteorologist with me to explain things I don't understand, or things I should have done differently, or why a storm formed there instead of here or not at all, etc. ST is at least a way to do that virtually. I can't imagine doing that efficiently, if at all, on FB.


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  18. Steve Miller

    Steve Miller Owner
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    I have set the Stormtrack FB group to "Archive" and it is no longer available for posts.
    FYI, I am beginning an advertising campaign to draw some new blood into the forum. Please welcome our new members kindly.
     
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  19. Jamie G Cox

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    I'm not brave enough to post on here. Everyone knows so much more than me and it prevents me from participating 90% of the time.
     
  20. Brian McKibben

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    There is always someone that knows more than you. Don't let that discourage you as you will continue to become more knowledgeable by interacting and asking questions.

    Sent from my SM-G920P using Stormtrack mobile app
     
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