Excerpt: Using Social Media to Spread Vital Information

As some may know, I am currently in the finishing stages of my IDC (Interdisciplinary Course of Knowledge) Honors Contract. For this contract, I had to construct an 8-10 page research paper, including interviews from professionals in the fields of journalism, meteorology, and civil service (although all of my respondents so far are meteorologists). Additionally, I conducted an online public survey that was used in comparison to the research used within the paper. Since I have yet to present this project in its entirety to my classmates and professors, I must refrain from divulging all of the secrets. However, a little “teaser,” paraphrased from the main ideals within the paper, has never hurt anyone!

With the use of social media escalating, many news and other information sources are making the transition to social networking platforms. The concept of getting the information out to a large amount of people in a small time frame has become attractive to many media outlets. Additionally, social media platforms can also be used to make reports or information updates from those in the affected areas. However, many remain skeptical of the use of social media due to problems associated with the viral spread of misinformation, commonly attributed to citizen journalists. With the use of professional interviews, current research done by the Pew Research Center, and an online public survey, this paper will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using social networking platforms to disperse and obtain vital information.

My favorite part of this research project so far has been the interviews. Being able to connect with professionals I have looked up to for years has been such an amazing experience. The insight they provided has shown how those media fields, specifically meteorology, are making the transition from the television to social media. The harder portion of the project would be gaining the responses for the survey. However, with some help from wonderful professors, friends, and fellow weather-enthusiasts, the response goal is realistic and I am optimistic about the results.

This will likely be the last time I reach out for responses through my blog. Please, if you haven’t done so already, take the time to complete this short survey. The responses will be closed on Saturday evening (12/7). Following the completion of the survey, please also share the link with those who follow you! Thank you once again for those who have participated so far with this project. It has been an amazing experience and I am beyond enthusiastic to attain the results!

Take the survey here!

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Technology Review: MetEd

Throughout my education, I was dismayed that the atmospheric science I knew and loved was not really taught in most school curriculum. I considered those who had more than a chapter dedicated to atmospheric science and meteorology lucky, and begged to assist them in their studies. I even asked my mother to buy me a text book specific to atmospheric science and meteorology for extra-curricular learning after I finished my general studies. Long story short, I craved knowledge regarding the weather and eagerly burned through anything I could get my hands on. This craving was finally satisfied during the latter half of my senior year in high school when I came across MetEd.

MetEd is a free-to-use website sponsored by the National Weather Service, among other organizations, that provides educational and training resources for anyone who is interested in meteorology, weather forecasting, and other geosciences. MetEd not only caters to the professionals, but also to students and anyone else who is interested in learning more about certain geoscience topics. MetEd, maintained by the COMET program, provides hundreds of training modules that offer printable certificates following the completion of the module and the accompanying quiz. Your grade and documentation of completion then can be sent via. Email to a professor, supervisor, or anyone you set as a contact so they can track your progress.

MetEd does require an account to use the site, but this is mainly to keep track of the modules you’ve completed. Each module has a time estimate, along with difficulty level, posted on its front page. These online modules contain audio, animation, images, and text that teach the concept contained in the module. The approximate time it takes to complete a module varies from about thirty minutes to two hours in some of the harder modules. However, MetEd is very user friendly and a wonderful educational tool for just about anyone. Since the time I began my own MetEd account about 18 months ago, I’ve completed eleven modules and two courses. I highly recommend MetEd to anyone who wishes to learn more about specific topics within the global geoscience fields of study. If you’re a science or weather geek like me, or if you just enjoy learning new things, you’ll love MetEd!

MetEd: https://www.meted.ucar.edu/index.php