How The Weather Channel Does Social Media

How The Weather Channel Does Social Media 946 521 C-Suite Network

Jennifer Watson began her career as an on-camera meteorologist in Mississippi and Alabama, where she also helped manage both stations’ social media channels and weather blogs. Taking a job as a social media specialist with Atlanta-based The Weather Channel was a natural transition for her. “The Weather Channel is a dream job for a weather nerd like me,” says Watson.

CCO: How do you manage the amount and variety of information you curate every day?

Watson: At The Weather Channel, our main goal is to provide weather information to help our fans plan their day and stay safe during severe weather. One of the most critical responsibilities of my job is during severe weather outbreaks; we use Twitter to break down storm information to our followers, making sure people have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. We have meteorologists on the social media team to ensure that we’re always posting accurate information.

In addition to breaking weather information, we also post about a lot of other weather verticals, such as wildfires or drought. Weather impacts every part of your life, whether you realize it or not. It even affects the economy and what you purchase. A lot of our meteorologists are big space geeks, so we also post information about satellite launches, different astronomical events, etc. We are excited and looking forward to this year’s total solar eclipse.

CCO: There must be risks related to reporting breaking weather news via social media.

Watson: We want to make sure people have a way to get real-time information if they can’t see it on TV. Social media is a great vehicle to disseminate this information but there are definitely challenges.

Facebook isn’t ideal for breaking information because information is served up to users based on habits and preferences. Twitter, however, allows us to push out alerts as they are issued and we are able to update forecasts in real time. If we’re following tornadoes in Louisiana or Mississippi, for example, we have automated location-based alerts that go out.

My role requires long hours to be sure everything is quality-checked and to ensure that we are getting people the information they need to stay safe. With weather reporting, social media coverage is a 24/7 job; it never ends. I’m always monitoring. I don’t want to miss anything.

CCO: What about fast-moving systems in which you’re not sure of the accuracy of the information you see online? What type of guidelines do you follow to ensure that you’re sharing good content?

Watson: It’s important for all of us at The Weather Channel to post the most accurate information online and on social channels. To ensure that the correct information is being posted, we have guidelines in place and we always have a meteorologist on duty to review posts before they are published if needed. We have a lot of checks and…