Airlines & Politicians: Wintry Weather Creates A New Use For Social Media

Social media has become very useful during the East Coast Blizzard of 2010. Social media is no longer just for keeping up with friends around the country now politicians and airlines are using Twitter to great effect.

It doesn’t matter what hashtag you might be following #snowmageddon, #snowloco, or #snowpocalypse, Twitter is abuzz about the recent snow conditions in the East Coast. While it might be fun to complain about the weather conditions or just to read complaints from other people, there are more productive ways that twitter is being used this particular winter.


The good- Delta (@Delta), the twitter feed of this airline company is responsive to each customer’s complaint. Passengers are asked to send in their flight number so that the flight can be checked to see if it has been delayed or canceled. Delta offers apologies and to reassure passengers that the flights will be back in service as soon as possible that is if the news is bad for your flight.

The ok – JetBlue (@JetBlue), instead of using direct tweets as Delta has successfully done this past week, JetBlue has decided to use the direct mail service of twitter to help passengers whose flights may have been delayed or canceled. While it may not be as quick as Delta, at least JetBlue is offering personal responses to each of its passengers.

The bad- Continental (@Continental), while attempting to be a participating company on twitter Continental unfortunately has dropped the ball. Instead of answering concerned passengers tweets or even direct messaging passengers, Continental has chosen to answer tweets with a standard response of “Our Social Media team is unable to rebook or give info on individual flights. We know this isn’t what you want to hear.” They are right, many passengers would prefer a personalized response like the other airline companies are offering during this blizzard.


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was facing criticism for not responding fast enough to the winter storms that have descended on New York City in the past; the mayor’s office, in response to the complaints, set up a twitter feed, @311NYC. This twitter feed allows New York City residence to post complaints, concerns, and questions. While the program has been put to great use during the rest of the year, it is during the winter storms that 311NYC is most effective. An example of its usefulness waswhen the mayor announced via twitter @311NYC that the parking meters will be turned off today due to snow removal.

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has also used twitter effectively. Instead of setting up a twitter feed to answer questions and to alert the community of issues, Mayor Booker has his own twitter feed. Any resident of Newark just needs to send a tweet to @CoryBooker asking for assistance in clearing their driveway, and help is on its way. The Mayor will either come by and help the resident himself or have a member of his constituency come by to offer assistance. Mayor Booker is hoping that his hard work during the winter pays off for the rest of the year when residence find something to complain to the city about.

Publish date: December 29, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT