National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Social Media Dashboard - A Locally Developed Application
Dixon, Neil

Real-time highway patrol reports, Web cams, streaming emergency services scanners, and other online resources frequently supply actionable information to National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists. The information collected from these electronic resources can aid in more informative and timely NWS statements, warnings, and local storm reports. However, the application of these resources varies across geopolitical boundaries and service areas. Over the past two years, social media has become one of the primary ways storm reports and other important information reaches the operational meteorologist. In addition, social media channels have proven to be an efficient and effective method of spreading information from the NWS to the public, emergency officials, and media.

The Social Media Dashboard (SMD) is a tool developed by NWS Greenville-Spartanburg to post and monitor Twitter and Facebook messages and organizes online resources for situational awareness/warning verification. There are four Twitter sections on the SMD: Twitter, Winter, Thunder, and Flooding. Each Twitter section is tailored to search tweets that contain well known hashtags, weather specific keywords within tweets that originate from an assigned area, and displays tweets from specified Twitter lists. The SMD provides several significant advantages over commercial third-party Twitter managing applications. The Facebook portion of the tool is designed to efficiently display the Facebook pages associated with significant media and weather interest groups on one display. Finally, county specific lists of online resources and Web cams are linked from a Google Map display. As of spring 2014, the SMD has been utilized by nearly 55 NWS offices across five NWS regions.