St Jude storm warnings fail to stop commuters’ moans on Twitter

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 14.52.30Only a week ago parts of the UK were in the grip of storm-generated chaos as St Jude blew down trees and powerlines and caused much misery for commuters. Naturally, we turned to social media to find out information, share news and generally vent our feelings.

Now Way To Blue have run the data and discovered that tweets to rail companies and other transport bodies were up by three thousand per cent on the day of the storm (compared with an average of 400 tweets a day on prior Mondays).

You’d think that with all the weather warnings about how bad the winds would be commuters might’ve cut the train companies some slack. But not so – Way To Blue found that there was a 10 per cent increase in negative sentiment in the tone of the tweets we were sending. Partly this was due to people moaning that they couldn’t understand why the London Underground was affected by the storm.


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Here are some of Way To Blue’s other findings:
– The most RT’d railway bodies and operating companies were Network Rail, National Rail and Southeastern Railway

– The least RT’d  rail operating companies were TFL, First Capital Connect and First Great Western

– Southeastern had the most popular tweet  related to the storm, informing its customers that there would be no trains until they had been given the all clear by Network Rail. This was posted on Sunday, giving advance warning to commuters

– South West Trains, First Capital Connect, Southern and Southeastern received the lowest level of online sentiment

Marcos Angelides, Social Media Director at Way To Blue, said: “Last week’s storm illustrated how people use social media to keep up to date on real-time events. As a result, the rail groups who actively shared information were able to help people plan their day and ultimately reduce frustrations. It’s a great example of the role of customer service. Although brands can’t control events like the weather they can control how they update their customers. Being honest and upfront really is the best policy.”

Jennifer Whitehead is a freelance journalist, co-founder of Jacoby & Whitehead and interim editor of The Wall. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferesque.