What’s the origin story of your business?
David reached out to me early in 2012 about the Nashville Severe Weather. We got to talking, but I didn’t know the areas of interest well enough. We thought it would be a good idea for me to go home and start a Twitter page there, as Twitter was a whole new thing for me. The page started as Rutherford COWX. When David reached back out, I realized I wanted to stay in Rutherford County. I’ve lived here for 10 years and worked here for 15. I know the area and the locals, I know the parks and the schools, I wanted to stay. David gave me the go-ahead and I changed the name to Rutherford Severe Weather to keep us all being seen as a homogenous unit. The rest is history.
Did your page experience skyrocket growth or was it more gradual over time?
It was slow growth initially. Twitter was a newer platform, while Facebook was the in thing at the time. But, Facebook didn’t fit the service I wanted to provide. I kept on Twitter and knew that followers would come in time. As we started to grow outward adding more counties, people flocked to us.
How do you deal with your trolls or haters?
Mostly I get a laugh out of it. I don’t want to give them a voice so I usually just let them yell into the vacuum. I know that our information is good so we just need to keep doing what we’re doing and the followers will follow.
What is the relationship between you guys and the TV meteorologists?
We have a respectful relationship. We talk at conferences and other events. We’re not in competition with each other, we don’t need to be. We all have our own goals, but we can collaborate when we need to.
How do you interact with your followers who say you eased their storm anxiety?
I’ve been called a hero, but I don’t see myself as one. If I can help just one person overcome their storm anxiety, my job is done. If I can help multiple, fantastic! I’m there to give information, to relieve fear, and update on what’s happening. I don’t think there’s anything better. I try to use a comical retreat away from the situation to alleviate concerns. I think laughter can overcome. Laughter heals.
How do you manage this with daily family life?
If I know there’s a chance of severe weather, I start prepping my family so they know why I’m stuck in the “command center”. My family is supportive, they know why I do what I do. My purpose is to help before, during, and after severe weather.
What are some of the good interactions you’ve had with followers?
After an event, there are messages of thanks that come in. Just one would be enough, but each one gratifies me on a level that is indescribable. A service-based industry is based on the idea of wanting to help solve and fix a problem, so knowing that we’re helping is enough.
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