A look back at this week’s news

26 08 2015

The Met Office has been in the news again this week, with our contracts for broadcast weather services generating a huge amount of column inches and public reaction.

It’s certainly been heartening to see and hear the level of public support for us. Over the last few days, ‘Met Office’ trended on Twitter and approaching 34,000 people have read our blog. We’ve had over 27,000 mentions of the Met Office on Twitter and lots of comments on our Facebook page. Here’s a very small selection of the feedback we’ve received:

  • @metoffice weather app will remain my first choice when it comes to weather reports.
  • @metoffice Met Office most highly respected in world. …
  • Dont worry @metoffice, you’ll always be my forecaster of choice :) #weather
  • .@metoffice Been using your app for quite a while. You provide an amazing service.
  • … Behind that lay my respect for the expertise and professionalism of the Met Office and its presenters.
  • … I do trust The Met Office and will follow them online …
  • … I’ve used the Met Office local weather map for years and find its forecasts almost unerringly accurate. You must also take into account the exceptional volatility of UK weather, and I doubt anyone can better MO for their knowledge and experience in that regard.

Moving from the positives to the negatives – there is some misinformation around.

Firstly about our apps. There’s been some suggestion in the media that our app is not popular. However, our apps have had 12 million downloads and they are rated 4 out of 5 on android and 3 out of 5 on iPhone. Like all providers we are always looking to improve and we hope build on this in the future. Last week we had 128% increase in app downloads and a 94% increase on website hits too.

Secondly in terms of value for money, it has been suggested that the Met Office charges the BBC £30 million a year. This, in fact, is the total of our commercial revenue from a wide range of customers – aviation, energy, marine, retail to name but a few. We receive only a small fraction of that amount for our presenter services to the BBC. Given that our presenters are paid at market rates this has to be great value for money.

For us, though, it’s never been about the money. It’s about serving the nation and ensuring the public benefits from the best weather forecasts and warnings to make informed decisions.

Met Office wins Social Buzz award

29 11 2012

Last night the Met Office won the Social Buzz Award for Best Public Sector Social Media Strategy for ‘Sharing the weather when it matters’.

The award is in recognition of the work of the Met Office has been doing to use social media to engage in online conversations about weather and climate, and to share important messages, such as impending severe weather forecasts and warnings, when it matters.

The Met Office has built a community of over 180,000 followers and fans across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and this news blog, sharing and engaging in conversations as varied as how severe weather may affect the UK, Saharan dust reaching the UK, and the Jet Stream.

Dee Cotgrove, Head of Communications at the Met Office said:

“The Met Office Social Media strategy has been a huge success for the Met Office over the past couple of years.  This award recognizes the interest people have in the weather and the important role the Met Office plays in keeping the nation up to date with the latest weather information when it matters.”

More information on the awards and a full list of the winners can be found on the Social Buzz Awards website.

This award follows our Computer Weekly best use of social media award in 2011 and being recognised as the 9th most social brand in Social Brands 100 earlier this year, putting us firmly at the forefront of social media within the public sector.

Met Office ranked in top ten social brands

29 05 2012

The Met Office has made it into the top ten social brands in the Headstream Social Brands 100 list for 2012. The Met Office came in joint ninth position and was recognised as the top ranked organisation in the services category.

Our Facebook account fared particularly well and was the eighth top performing brand on this platform. On Twitter, we scored highly for speed of response and mentions of other Twitter accounts.

The ranking takes into account the range of engagement across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and our blog.

Charlotte Howells, Social Media and online communications Manager said: “The weather is something we all love to talk about and we want to be at the centre of those conversations about our ever changing weather and climate. We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised by social brands 100 and look forward to carrying on the conversations we are having with the public about the weather.”

The top 100 brands are put through a rigorous and independent judging process with an expert panel of judges from companies including Google, YouTube and Twitter helping to determine the final ranking position.

Social Brands 100 was created by social specialist agency Headstream in 2011 as an initiative to identify and acknowledge those brands leading the way in the social age. Now in its second year, Social Brands 100 has established a position as one of the leading rankings of social media performance.

You can download the full Social Brands 100 report here.

Met Office to host NASA Space Apps Challenge

13 04 2012

The NASA Space Apps Challenge is now just over a week away and the Met Office is hosting the lead event for Europe over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd April.

The Met Office building

A number of challenges, presented by Met Office employees, have been accepted by the International Space Apps Challenge and are being followed by participants across the globe.

One of those accepted is the #HazardMap – Real time hazard mapping by scraping social media. This challenge was submitted by Jo Robbins, Weather Impact Research Scientist at the Met Office and Emma Bee, a Geographical Information Specialist who is on placement at the Met Office from the British Geological Survey.

Currently, gathering real-time, on the ground information of a hazard event such as a flood or earthquake as it happens is largely limited to the professional media. Even then it can take time for journalists to report the situation.

However, as was seen during the Japanese Earthquake in 2010, social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr etc) was used extensively to gain situational awareness. Social media was also used by individuals affected by the disaster as a medium to tell their friends and family that they were safe.

The challenge for this project is to see if real-time information about hazard events can be harvested from social media, or other public data, and presented in such a way that is useful to professionals working within an operational hazard centre environment and the general public.

As well as using open government data, Teams at the event will also be using our recently launched DataPoint web service. This gives access to operational UK weather data and observations as well as exploiting other open data sets available from the Met Office and other participating organisations.


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