Do people talk more online when it’s cold outside? Weather and online conversations

by Laurent François

I had a funny conversation with my family: they were arguing that before, phone or TV usage were very dependent on the weather. So to say, if it was raining, the whole family was more probably watching TV than going out.
I did not agree at all with this idea because I had this strong opinion that for example in the ever-shining California, people were certainly more using media, entertainments than in other parts of the world.

How come? Because TV, or any media consumption is a social tool, an activity you have to share with other guys, with friends, co-workers etc.
The thing that it used to be complicated to bring a TV … on the beach.

But what about internet? What about online conversations? I did not find many studies between weather and internet, whereas it definitely should be interesting to find out some great insights.

Nonetheless, I found this interesting article on Microsoft Small business site, “Mobile technology whatever the weather” :

Mobile technology whatever the weather “The convergence of video and mobile technology continues apace, with signs that even the most familiar information sources are becoming deliverable through a variety of methods.

News that the Met Office is to deliver the world’s first free-of-charge video on-demand weather service for mobile handsets, with forecasts updated several times a day, has underlined the maturity of the mobile technology sector.

Provided by IT specialist, Gorillabox, the service illustrates just how widespread portable devices have become, and how they are being leveraged to deliver broader information.

“Today’s technology means we’ve become accustomed to having information at our fingertips, exactly when we want it,” explained Juliet Gardner, business manager for Met Office Media.

The use of mobile devices has become an important feature of small businesses – the ability to stay in touch with the office hub even while on the road is essential for many outfits.

Personal digital assistants are an established part of the business landscape, while laptops, notebooks and the latest mobiles provide internet, email and telephony on the move. “

You can bring a mobile device during summertime on the beach. Is it a time-revolution for media usage? The thing is that you’re not media-naked anymore while you’re sun tanning.
As we know, offline vs online is more and more a wrong opposition. The more relevant link is to establish to what extent an individual manages his/her online presence and interactions. And I definitely believe that weather can be one parameter.

There may even be learnings for health for example, like this study “Decreasing Excessive Media Usage While Increasing Physical Activity” proving that:

“The present study examines the potential of increasing physical activity and decreasing media usage in a 14-year-old adolescent female by making time spent on the Internet and/or cell phone contingent on physical activity. Results of this investigation indicate that requiring the participant to earn her media-usage time did correspond with an increase in physical activity and a decrease in media-usage time relative to baseline measures. Five weeks after cessation of the intervention, the participant’s new level of physical activity was still being maintained. One year after the study, the participant’s level of physical activity continued to increase.”

Then how do you get an access to physical activities? In more sunny areas, isn’t it easier to go for a walk or to play football than in a colder place, in which you need to go to a fitness center (and therefore, you have to pay more)?

So to say, it’s not that easy to talk about weather. Now you have to reconsider Weather programs on TV.

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