Some of you may have noticed a new web feature we just launched last Thursday. It is our new live blogging feature. We used it for the first time on Thursday afternoon/evening/night as severe weather was expected and then as the severe weather moved through. In case you missed it, don't worry it will be back as it seemed to be a big hit and worked really well...especially for the first try. Basically it is a program that we can insert into the Internet page when we want and it is like a live chat room...the comments go up immediately, and that means you get the information almost as fast as we get it. You at home can type in a question or comment and it will first come to us here so we can approve the post and respond if a response is needed. This allows us to only post useful questions/comments and filter out any that are off topic, use profanity, or we decide are otherwise unnecessary. There is also a function on our end that allows us to block users that continually try to abuse this great new feature...unfortunately there are always those that will try to cause problems and we did have to use that function on several occasions.
There was some great chat that went on including many people passing along storm reports. That was great and hopefully we can only make that part of it grow. It also allowed viewers to chat back and forth about different things and that was interesting to watch. I think you all did a great job with it this first time.
Most of the feedback we had was outstanding. There was one complaint that we received several times about the chat kept knocking the user back to the bottom whenever a new comment was posted and this didn't allow you to scroll through and read the history of the chat. However, there is a function where you can turn that off and read all the way back through the chat history as you please. We welcome any additional comments about the chat and would be especially interested in your suggestions.
On behalf of the weather department I want to offer a suggestion to you as a user. While this chat does give us a way to interact with you, we want you to understand that some questions are impossible to answer. A few that kept being asked were ..."What time will the storms arrive in location X." Before the storms start this is impossible to tell precisely. You may have noticed we kept offering the same general answer about what was going to happen. In general we will break up the region into 2 or 3 areas and our answer will be the same for all locations in those areas. For example our answer to that question for Osage City and Lyndon will most likely be the same. So lets try to keep the...when will the storm hit my house questions to a minimum. Just know we will make the forecasts as detailed as we possibly can. We do not hold back any information and with the chat we will be more likely to talk about different scenarios that may unfold. If we can eliminate some of those questions then the chat will be much more efficient and useful for everyone involved.
We will again do the chat next time severe weather threatens NE Kansas and I hope you can come chat with us.
You will also notice the chat used for political coverage and also during some big sporting events. That should be really fun to watch because it will give the viewers a chance to banter back and forth...just remember to keep it family friendly.