From the Author:
smalltalk--it's the nonsense chatter that we as humans use to fill the spaces in between our meaningful communication. We use small talk to connect with each other, even if it means relating on a one-dimensional basis. Small talk makes it ok to communicate, even when there is nothing really to say.
When lost for words, what's the first cliche topic or thought to leave your mouth in order to break the ice? --the weather.
The weather affects us every single day. It's a driving force that connects us all. Furthermore, weather makes an impact on us no matter if we're inside or out, online or in the real-world. As humans we use weather conditions as reasoning for our current emotions, change in habits, or timing. On any given day, our friends' Facebook, Twitter, and GTalk status messages consist of the normal daily minutiae of on and offline life. The status message is an opportunity to generate a potential dialogue, grounded in small talk. The broadcast potential of one-to-many allows for our message to be carried across a variety of mediums and to countless individuals.
When changes happen in the larger system, a pattern tends to emerge where individuals use the status message to broadcast their own feelings about the change for their community to see.
As the weather change registers across the social sphere, so does its visibility to people who might not have witnessed the weather itself. However, the weather has the ability to 'go viral' in a sense, and create second and third-hand musings on the weather change. Thus what might start as one person's disdain for the sprinkles on the hood of his car, becomes a torrential downpour as that singular comment ripples through the interlaced network of status messages.
If enough 'social weather' data is aggregated it can be used to form a multi-dimensional picture of the weather and the effect is has on our lives.
However, the triviality of the small talk and the topic of broadcast is what makes social weather mapping so interesting. We found this beautiful and hilarious at the same time.