By: Amy Sweezey, WESH-TV Morning Meteorologist
I love Twitter!
I’ve loved Twitter from the first moment I discovered it in February of 2009.
Even before I totally understood the #’s and @’s and RT’s, I could tell it was going to be a useful tool for my job as a TV meteorologist.
I had always liked the “status update” feature of Facebook but wasn’t a fan of the game requests and constant spamming. I saw Twitter right away as “Facebook status updates… without all the other stuff.” Oh, and character limits! I loved that you had to be concise and succinct in just 140 characters.
I did not see Twitter as a way to boost my career. I merely saw it as a tool of getting first-hand weather information for my use on TV. Other TV meteorologists across the country were joining up and tweeting things like rain totals and record highs. If we showed snow video from Michigan on my Orlando newscast, I could tweet a weather friend from that area and get first-hand, real-time information about that snow. Of course, it helped that broadcasters tend to see the benefit of social media, often before their managers do. If there were no other meteorologists tweeting, it would be tough to proceed.
I did not start following back everyone who followed me. I only followed people who were sending tweets I wanted to read. It wasn’t just weather tweeters. I followed people who made me laugh, or made me think, were famous, had an interesting business or career, inspired me, gave me information that mattered to my life, or someone I knew personally. I try to keep that in mind now when I send a tweet.
“Is what I’m sending valuable to the people who are following me?”
“Will this tweet make them continue following, or get me unfollowed?”
I also keep my tweets free of religious or political comments or controversial topics. My general rule of thumb is to only tweet something I would say on TV if I had the time. Tweeting the “wrong” thing can lead to being unfollowed, getting in trouble, losing viewers, or even being fired.
Not only has Twitter helped me connect with fellow meteorologists across the country, it has helped me connect more personally with my viewers in Central Florida. They can reach me personally in a way they never could before. They can ask a question, respond to one of my tweets, learn more about me personally. Often people watch a newscast because they feel connected to the people presenting the news. I don’t always respond to every single tweet and I don’t always answer every single question of “what time will it rain in my backyard.” After all, I need people to watch the news and not get everything they need from Twitter. But it’s a great tool to drive people to the newscast, which boosts ratings, and ultimately keeps me employed.
I have benefited personally from Twitter. I found a great pool company @MagicPoolSvcs after the owner discovered my love for the University of Michigan (#GoBlue). A tweet sparked a Twitter conversation and later a business relationship. I bought @JustinBieber concert tickets from a viewer who saw me post about frustrations over not finding tickets with @Ticketmaster.
Even though gaining followers is the only way we have of gauging how we’re doing on Twitter, I still think quality should win out over quantity. I try not to get caught up in how many followers I have. There are plenty of Broadcast Meteorologists who have more than my 5,500. @WXBrad in North Carolina has more than 17,000 followers. @Spann in Alabama has more than 97,000! But with these 2 guys, if you follow them for long, you’ll realize they have the followers because of the quality of their tweets. One day maybe I’ll get there. Maybe not.
In the meantime, although I enjoy the professional and personal benefits of Twitter, sometimes it’s just pure fun! Did I mention @RalphMacchio wished me a Happy Birthday one year? @ShawnC4Real (from @NBCDays) tweeted me how much fun he had visiting our show @WESH2Sunrise. And @BobGuiney follows me even though I don’t know him personally.
I love @Twitter![symple_toggle title=”Who’s a Fire Starter?”]
A TweetBrander Fire Starter is a Twitter user who goes above and beyond to tweet great content often and successfully promotes themselves in the process by making great use of the platform.
TweetBrander chooses a Twitter user each week and crowns them the TweetBrander Fire Starter. We will encourage others to follow them and spotlight their tweets. If you want to recommend someone for the weekly Fire Starter, nominate them here![/symple_toggle]