Live Tweeting The Weather

Tornados are top of mind in Ontario these days after one ripped through Goderich this week and the threat of severe storms earlier tonight. This fact was evident for a few hours on Twitter. #tornadowatch, Southern Ontario and Weather Network, where I work, all trended in the Canadian top nine.

Ontarians, including a couple talented people at The Weather Network, live tweeted about the storm so that I could virtually see it moving east across the south part of the province while also reading about conditions elsewhere in Ontario.

As I said in a note to the writer, “I think you set some kind of national or international weather live tweeting record.” And more importantly, people got the news they needed about the storm’s severity.

TV and web can’t match this pace. Sure their reach is far greater with millions more people tuning into our on-air broadcast and web site. But if you wanted to know what was happening every few seconds in different areas, these live streams provided nice little chunks of easy to digest news. Which greatly complimented information on our other platforms including Facebook. As evident by the tweets referring to our TV reports and web radar models.

It’s common for Canadians to need their weather news. Tonight’s weather reinforced this fact while also highlighting Twitter’s information sharing strength.

Not as strong as the thunder and lightning, high winds and violent rain just experienced, but impressive all the same.

Smart Marketing?

I just heard that KFC is offering a $20,000 college scholarship for the best high school tweet. My initial reaction is that KFC will get a lot of marketing mileage. As a dad, if my girls were high school seniors, and if we lived in the US, I’d tell them to start tweeting; $20K is $20K! Even if we don’t, and never will, eat KFC.

So is this smart marketing? I expect that a lot of students, and people who know students, will start pushing the #KFCscholar hasthtag on Twitter. Which will mean positive brand engagement with this key KFC demo. It also seems like a simple way to create buzz: give a scholarship to students. It’s like kissing babies and patting dogs; it’s hard to look bad doing it.

So yep, this is smart marketing. Not sure if it will sell more chicken. But perhaps it’s better if it doesn’t.

Evolving communications

Eddy's Camera 316I just read a great article on the Evolution of Blogging by Om Malik. He says that blogging offers the substance and context that micromessaging (Twitter) can’t. However, blogs need to move beyond the info-sharing role to better handle the increased amount of lifestreaming that will continue as “more and more bandwidth is available both at home and on the go.”

Malik makes great points in this post which led to many interesting replies including this one by Cody Brown: “Making blogging more nimble as a platform is all well and good but I think the takeaway here is that blogging will continue to become less like a lecture hall and more like a cocktail party. The structure of the traditional blog post, including this one (Malik’s), isn’t designed to be free-flowing, it’s designed to worship the blogger. The responses are at the bottom, not the top and all of them can be ignored. Twitter is the opposite. This isn’t to say that one style is better than the other, both are important, but I think you can guess, when given a choice between a lecture and a cocktail party, where you will spend most of your time.”

As much as being worshipped would be nice, I also like the idea of Message Man being more of a conversation instead of a lecture. It’s a business lifestream filled with insights, links, photos and even videos on communications. It’s one of the places for me to discuss the best ways to engage, influence and activate people, both online and offline; and to participate in the evolution of communications.