Weather hype on social media

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — “Jimmy Fallon, cocaine, booze and drug battle! Eyewitness says he begged me for drugs!”

Or how about: “Natalie Wood, maybe finally Robert Wagner is going to jail.”

Or… “the Bizzare world of the Jolie-Pitts family, all six kids in therapy.”

Or… “we’re pregnant!”

Is this true? Don’t believe everything you read! And that’s the problem, because in today’s world, when we are connected by computers, or cell phones or iPads; we’re in the information world 24 hours per day 7 days per week, and the headline sells! And the same problem exists with social media and weather.

You see these types of headlines published on Facebook and twitter all of the time. They are published immediately. The headline sells!

  • Hurricane Threatens Gulf States Next Week! SHARE THIS IMMEDIATELY IF YOU SEE THIS.
  • Potentially Dangerous Weather Event and Widespread Snow/Snowstorms still on the cards for Friday and Saturday
  • NYC: Historic Blizzard. Crippling, Paralyzing, Close it All.
  • Or using a weather model out over 300+ hours to talk about an Arctic Blast

Posts like these are meant to do nothing more than drive up likes and shares for the individual or group that posts them. But they also greatly confuse the public and create unneeded hype.  Each of those examples, were 100 percent incorrect on so many levels.

The problem is, they get shared over and over and over, it becomes viewed as a credible source of information and then when nothing happens, it “oh see – they were wrong again!” But who was wrong?

The posts didn’t come from John, Katie, Tim or myself, or the 8News StormTracker Weather team, it came from some erroneous source with most likely no knowledge or education in Meteorology.

So Part II of the old adage also should be remembered, KNOW YOUR SOURCES. Facebook and Twitter have made it easy to find and follow trusted sources with a check mark or verified sign next to our names. That immediately will help you weed out those posts that are hyping the weather and looking for shares and likes.

We at 8News strive for two things accuracy and dependability. We will let you know, way in advance when there is the potential of a storm coming that could cause problems for central Virginia and when it is deemed prudent we will provide you an accurate forecast for the timing the winter weather, the breakdown of what you will see during the storm and an accurate forecast of the snowfall headed our way.

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