Humanizing the Science: Trust-Building through Social Media


Social media has opened up a new world to the National Weather Service (NWS), a government organization that until recently kept most of its communication limited to a small group of core partners such as county officials and themedia. As an organization that was used to speaking to a small set of users in scientific terms and government-speak, social media provided the NWS a unique opportunity to interact with a whole new group of users on a completely different level.

This new exposure to a large section of the public introduced new needs and challenges for the NWS to communicate vital information to those who may have very little understanding of weather yet can be profoundly affected by it.

The March 3 breakfast Humanizing the Science: Trust-Building through Social Media will showcase ways in which the NWS in Kansas City has used social media to communicate complicated weather information to a variety of users, as well as to build trust among those who rely on the NWS for important and potentially life-saving information. Specifically, you'll learn:

  1. How to break down complicated scientific processes to a basic level of understanding
  2. Maximizing the effectiveness of critical information by establishing a foundation of trust
  3. How to build trust by showing the human behind your service and connecting to users on a personal level

This will include using humor, creativity, civic pride and most importantly showcasing the human that is behind the forecast message.

About the author:
Dan Hawblitzel is a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Kansas City. He is in charge of the social media program at the office which has become one of the most recognized NWS social media programs in the nation. His work to improve the communication of forecast and weather hazards is now in use at multiple NWS offices across the country.