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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 08/ 5/2010

CWG's Twitter feeds: What info do you want?

By Jason Samenow

* Hot & humid with chance of strong storms: Full Forecast *

Capital Weather Gang (CWG) continues to build its presence on Twitter and we now have almost 6,000 followers on our main feed @capitalweather . To date, we've used this feed for a mix of fun/witty weather banter, storm updates, the daily digit, and fun weather/climate facts. Our other feed, @dcweatheralerts, simply provides National Weather Service warnings for the region, the instant they are issued.

As a warning feed is a warning feed (i.e. @dcweatheralerts), we're primarily interested in hearing what information you find most useful and/or would like to see more of on our general Twitter feed - @capitalweather. So please vote in the poll below (multiple selections allowed). In the comment area, let us know whether you think we're Tweeting too much, too little, and whether you'd rather us have one feed (combining automated watches and warnings with all in the stuff in our regular feed) or two separate feeds as we do now (with watches/warnings separate). And any other thoughts you may have on our use of Twitter are welcome.

By Jason Samenow  | August 5, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Capital Weather Gang  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Stifling heat, strong storm risk
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In general, does Twitter interest you & is it easy? hard to use? We just want to utilize it, assuming that you are on Twitter and like using that platform :-)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | August 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm a longtime Twitter user (since 2007, right after it appeared at SXSW), and I find it to be an easy platform for announcements, both sending and receiving. Not a dialogue generator, but we've got the CWG blog for that. One thing I've found is that Twitter always leads to something else--twitpics, or a blog, or a news item, etc. If that's part of what you're looking for, then it's good for that.

Posted by: mensan98th | August 5, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Not a twitterer - would rather read the longer pieces in the blog after the material is digested, and I keep a radio on for alerts when they seem likely. Others are welcome to their preferences, however.

Posted by: fsd50 | August 5, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

My one criticism would actually be for the Alert account. I grant that reminders about what a Severe Thunderstorm is, what do do when you hear thunder, etc., are good, they're NOT, by definition, alerts. And I already know to stay tuned to CWGAlerts, 'cause I've already subscribed to it.

Case in point: Four CWG alerts that just came through 5 minutes ago (about 1:45 pm) -- only one of those was actually new information to me.

I have the alerts account sent directly to my phone, and it's frustrating to get 4 or more tweets all in a row, when only 1 is actually of direct importance at the moment. (it gets even worse when different NWS alerts come out at the same time, like watch for DC and warning for NoVA, but I can't complain about that).

Is there any reason you couldn't move the informational messages to the regular account?

Beyond that, I love the mix you've got now, and have frequently pointed others to your service. Thanks for everything!

Posted by: schuetzdj | August 5, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Love what you guys are doing on twitter. Perfect mix.
Volume of tweets is great--minimal when you'd expect, and tweets every 5 minutes when there's something major happening. It's perfect. You do a great job of responding to questions and comments.

Posted by: MadRabbitScientist | August 5, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post almost exactly what schuetzdj did. I push the @dcWeatherAlerts to my phone SMS so they get more immediate attention, and it's distracting to get a bunch of repetitive form messages every time there's a Watch posted.

I don't mind the waves of county-by-county Warnings as a front pushes through, but I think that the general "thunder roars" and "stay tuned" notices could be cut back from the @dcWeatherAlerts to maybe once a month or so.

Alternatively, perhaps set up a couple pages of seasonal tips that you can short link to as part of the single regional watch tweet. I wouldn't mind keeping the repetitive stuff in the non-alert account, because I just see those go by in the Twitter stream when I get to reading it.

I really appreciate the work you're doing. Thanks.

Posted by: jtlynchjr | August 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

An item missing from the poll that I wouldn't mind seeing: local storm/weather reports/comments, both those tweeted to @capitalweather and those typed up by CWG.

Posted by: ajfroggie | August 5, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with a comment I saw from someone awhile back about when reporting on the humidity (and heat)-how about a "haircast" to let interested parties know how screwed up our hair will be when we step outside?

Posted by: BruinGirl2001 | August 5, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the comments so far everyone. I'm especially interested in the commentary on the alerts account. When we originally envisioned it, we figured they'd be a ton of people who didn't want our daily banter, forecasts, etc, but would be very interested in those sort of major alert messages, so wanted to provide an outlet for just that info (and agree, if we retweet the same messages every day, it goes against the idea of the account).

But is that how people really use it? Do people out there really follow @dcweatheralerts and not @capitalweather? And do the 4000 some @capitalweather followers (who don't follow @...alerts) not care about tornado warnings? And if i have to still tweet those watches and warnings from @capitalweather (because in the end, we just want everyone to be warned and informed), does that defeat the purpose of @dcweatheralerts? All the sort of technical details that keep me awake at night....

I'd love to set up a @vaweatheralerts, @mdweatheralerts, @blueridgeweatheralerts and others to better localized that sort of info since the average college park subscriber won't care about warnings in fredericksburg. But so far, 2 things have stopped me, give me your thoughts:
1) DC commutes and traverses a wide area everyday. It's not beyond reason for me to live in alexandria, shop in tyson's, work in DC, and go to ikea in college park. Having 1 account that covers the metro area as a whole gives me all the info I need regardless where I happen to be, instead of signing up for 3 different accounts.
2) I feel like having super hyper-local accounts breaks the idea of twitter. I haven't figured out how, but it seems to just be a ton of overhead and extra accounts without a ton of advantage.Has the twitter community advanced enough where they can self-filter out the noise they don't want (or is the attitude still "Too much noise, not enough signal, must unfollow.")

So friends, keep the input coming

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | August 5, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@JJones: I follow both @capitalweather and @dcweatheralerts on twitter, and I appreciate them both. I have @dcweatheralerts sent to my cell phone via SMS. I don't like getting the 4 messages that are sent via @dcweatheralerts right before the real alerts are sent, but I understand that it's a twitter feed first, so it's okay. It's a good wake up message. I also appreciate getting all the county-by-county alerts, as I could be in any one of those counties when storms hit. All in all, I think that both @capitalweather and @dcweatheralerts are working as I'd hoped they would for me.

Posted by: --sg | August 5, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I love your Twitter feeds. I signed up for Twitter over a year ago, but in the last 3 months or so have really become a fan, and I now use it for my own personal news feed multiple times throughout the day. I check your account anytime there is big weather news, and I really appreciated all your commentary during our big snows.

I especially like the number of the day, and am anxiously looking forward to having a 9 or 10 sometime soon!

Since I don't get the alerts, I don't find your feeds too intrusive. For my needs, what you're doing is perfect!

Posted by: RedLineGirl | August 5, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

@JJones: I only follow @capitalweather, not @dcweatheralerts. Generally get my watch/warning info from elsewhere, but would like to see the tweets and reports sent/fowarded to CWG.

Posted by: ajfroggie | August 6, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

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