Weather alerts spoiled father’s day

Several years ago before http://www.theweathernetwork.ca came on the scene, everyone still talked about the weather, whether it was good, bad, cold, warm, rainy or snowy. The difference compared today was; we were commenting on the weather we were experiencing or had experienced, not what was being forecast on the web or TV.

Forecasts back then were pretty general; sunny and hot, chance of rain or snow and an estimated temperature. No seven-day or 14-day forecasts and no percentage of how much or when it will rain.

Most of us took forecasting with a grain of salt back then. A snow storm in the forecast meant we would hop into the old rear-wheel-drive land yacht with snow tires and drive to our favourite nearby ski resort without incident – resulting in a great day on the slopes.

Today is a different story. Weather forecasting has become serious business. Well, it always has been if you are a pilot flying the airlines or a captain sailing the high seas, but today forecasts for regular people can put the fear of God in them.

Take Father’s Day Sunday. Forecasts were for a hot steamy day in Ottawa with a chance of thunderstorms… but wait, there was more – an all-out alert for a chance of severe thunderstorms throughout the day, capable of producing heavy downpours, strong winds and the possibility of a tornado!

But wait, there was more. Another alert indicating the Ottawa area was under a Tornado watch! The alert was out there from Sunday morning to Sunday evening.

Well this put the fear of God in my wife’s parents who live in a seniors residence, and they called us and said they were not going to the father’s day barbecue my wife’s sister had planned.

So, all the steaks went back into the freezer and another day was planned to celebrate father’s day.

What happened weather-wise that day? Yes it was a hot, steamy day with a short shower over the noon hour, but it was mainly sunny and windy throughout the afternoon. By evening the temps were becoming more bearable, the sky was clearing and the winds calmed down – perfect for a barbecue.

To sum it up, these severe weather alerts which came over the TV, internet and cell phone via social media spoiled father’s day. From now on we will take note of the severe weather alerts, but we won’t alter our plans.

Did the weather alerts on father’s day alter your plans? Or did you ignore them and have a good time.

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Social media noise

“Does the noise in my head bother you?” – Steven Tyler, front man for the rock band Aerosmith

The title of Steven Tyler’s biography published a few years ago got me thinking the same thing can be asked about social media – Does the noise in my blog, tweet or Facebook post bother you?

Not long after starting this course I learned there is a great deal of social media noise out there. I’m not saying the noise is a bad thing, but it still overwhelms me at how many experts there are out there on every topic imaginable.

I guess for some, who post their opinion several times a day, it’s kind of therapeutic. It allows them to make the noise in their heads, heard, whether it bothers their followers or not. This reminds me of US President Donald Trump, tweeting whatever is on his mind in the middle of the night, leaving many on Twitter scratching their heads.

I’m  understanding a little more each day how useful social media is to business, law enforcement, marketing, media, politicians and political parties, and when it is used correctly social media makes for beautiful noise.

The part I’m having trouble with is taking the noise in my head and putting it out there for anyone to read.

Too many platforms, too little time COM0011

By Michel Hell COM0011 Blog 2

Being a Social Media newbie, at first glance the number of platforms available to communicate on seems to be out of control – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ etc., etc.

Up until now, phone calls, texting and emailing were more than enough ways for me to communicate… let alone face to face. But I see there is a need to communicate to specific communities, whether it is looking for a job, education, hobbies or searching for the best product to buy by reading reviews from people who have previously bought the same item.

Being part of an online community with people who have similar interests from all parts of the world is an eye-opener and the beginning, I hope, of a fascinating journey. But which platform is going to be the best for me?

Well after visiting many communities’ websites I’m interested in (i.e. http://www.AOPA.org), I see they all offer Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These two for now seem to be the most popular for like-minded people to share a 140 character thought by Tweet or by sharing more insight with photos and videos via Facebook – and allowing for feedback almost instantaneously.

So for now I will be quite happy using the more popular platforms because there is not enough time for me to surf through the rest.

Is there a platform you like better and can recommend?

Social Media’s good, bad and ugly sides

By Michel Hell, COM0011

There are pros and cons to almost everything. In my opinion and in my first blog I will look at some of the good, bad and ugly sides of social media.

THE GOOD

Social media has made communicating to targeted and non-targeted audiences so much easier and faster than ever. US President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter is a prime example.

Advertisers can now inexpensively target an audience who are actual buyers or users of their products or services rather than spending huge amounts  of money on advertising to the general public as a whole, hoping to attract a small percentage of those who see the ad in print or broadcast on TV.

On the flip side customers can use social media to provide reviews of the products or services they purchased for all to see, including potential new customers.

The ability to text, tweet or email via cellphone is at times a god sent, especially in public places. There’s nothing worst then listening to someone with a loud voice talking on the phone while riding on the bus.

THE BAD

One thing about social media that is both annoying and comical is people trying to walk and tweet at the same time. It is annoying when you are walking downtown at lunchtime and you have to navigate around several of these social misfits, however, they can be quite entertaining to watch as they walk into light poles, trash cans and other people.

Digital media allow their readers and viewers to comment on news stories. The comments are usually rude, not constructive and usually end up with commenters criticizing other commenters. This is also common in discussions forums which eventually becomes a useless tool for the user.

News shows on TV like Power and Politics which allow viewers to comment via Twitter or Facebook on stories as they are broadcast live. This is annoying because there is too much going on on the screen; the anchor and guest(s), headlines running along the bottom of the screen and then uneducated comments from viewers. It makes it easy to loose concentration on what is most important – the story being broadcast.

THE UGLY

People who insist on tweeting or texting while driving. This practice has apparently led to as many or more fatal accidents as impaired driving.

People walking across busy intersections not looking where they are going due to the fact their face it glued to their cellphone screen, resulting in injuries and fatalities.

Authors deliberately writing fake news stories on social media without a disclaimer. If the author is good at what he/she writes they can capture a large audience which in turn can capture a great deal of advertising revenue for the author.  Good for them but not for the readership. Fake news writers help create an ill-informed society which can lead to dangerous and devastating consequences.

Sexting among the under aged. Truly a disturbing trend.

In conclusion, there you have it, my opinions on the good, bad and ugly sides of social media. What are yours?