Let’s say you’re trying to show that your college lets students learn outside the classroom. You have a summer course where students pursue extreme weather across the Midwest. Wouldn’t keeping current and future students, friends and family, and the media updated via social media be a good idea?
In the case of the SUNY Oswego Storm Chasers course, this is indeed happening. The @oswegochasers Twitter account not only keeps followers updated on the team’s location, but readers can see some pretty cool photos as well as links to AccuWeather videos and AccuChaser Shawn Smith’s relayed blog updates. Talk about bringing the experience to the reader!
In theory, we could take it a step further. Imagine they tweet that they’re pulling into, say, Kansas City to chase storms around the region the next day. With a little time, planning and luck, couldn’t we take a shot via email (a long shot, perhaps) at interesting the Kansas City Star and/or local TV news operations at WADF, KCTV, KMBC and KSHB in doing a story on these out-of-town social-media-using storm chasers? (Though, sad to say, some editors may be more interested in the Twitter angle than the weather one.) Between having the cell number for the lead meteorologist plus compelling photos and access to AccuWeather’s ride-along videos, the basic elements are there for an interesting story.
If nothing else, it shows one more way social media can bring interesting experiences to the world, the silver lining for weather enthusiasts out pursuing the darkest clouds they can find.