The Weather Channel recently announced the launch of a Facebook application that integrates social media with severe weather alerts. Called “My Friends’ Weather,” the new application allows users to track storm alerts based on where their friends are and post weather alerts to their friends’ Facebook timelines.
We first read about this new release in Fast Company, which quoted Weather Channel vice president Cameron Clayton on the benefit of integrating social networking into alerting:
“You don’t really care who tells you the power is out and there’s a hurricane coming,” Clayton says of the new feature. “We’re not trying to replace [National Weather Service alerts] at all, we’re trying to augment that with a way to check on your family and friends as quickly as possible.”
The same principle is true in alerting that is true in political campaigning: that people pay more attention to messages they receive from those in their network than from institutions or any form of mass media. If a friend were to alert you that a tornado warning is on in your area, you may pay more attention to the warning than if you had received it via EAS or the local news. Better yet, if you are on the go, the notification that pings you over Facebook may be the most effective way to get your attention.