Snowmageddon. Snowpocolypse. Kaiser Snowze. The 2009/2010 winter season in DC has gone by a lot of names. One of the most notable side stories in my (social media crazed) mind is the role that social media (or should I say snowcial media?) has played in everything from storm tracking, to commiserating, to clean up efforts. Particularly noteworthy is the way "traditional" players got in on the action.
A blog at its core, the Weather Gang blog became my go-to for all things weather related. They give insightful, accurate forecasts with a personality, and take advantage of the rest of the social Web (Twitter, Facebook) to promote the site, its content, and its conversations. What's great is that this is run by the Washington Post - it's great to see such integrated use of social media across a traditional media site.
Washington, DC Department of Transportation
Despite apparently having like three plows to service the entire city, DDOT DC has taken a proactive role in communicating its snow removal plans to the community. A Twitter handle DDOTDC is collecting reports of unplowed streets and sending them to the Snow Command Center (which is probably in Cheney's secret bunker...) - so while huge swaths of the city remain unserviced, there is a sense that someone is out there listening. Notably, DDOTDC is even going one step further that listening and has launched Snow Map DC which allows you to type in your address/crossstreet/block and see what service its received and what the current road conditions are.
(Personal side note - all those dots don't necessarily translate to clear streets, as they would commonly be defined. Here is Wisconsin Ave between M and K Street last night - doth those green flags lie??)
Of course Twitter and Facebook also played pivotal roles in keeping the DC community together. Twitter did what it does best and became a real time focal point for discussion - hashtags, twit pics, and live updates dominated in the days leading up and during the storm. Facebook played to its community organizing strengths - The Official Dupont Circle Snowball Fight group has over 6,000 fans - 2,000+ of whom showed up for the actual event last weekend.
I've written this post in the past tense - which is ironic, seeing as how we're about to get another 10 - 16" tonight and tomorrow... snowcial media may have more gas left in the tank. Stay tuned!