December 20th, 2013
Bad jokes gone good: How the Portland Twitter! Storm! Team! hashtag joke became a valuable weather resource
When it comes to this time of year, Portland gets a little wacky about its weather. That’s nothing new. It’s been happening for quite some time. Live coverage from the top of Sylvan Hill. Reporters resembling Ralphie’s brother from A Christmas Story waiting patiently in the Gorge for freezing rain. Hysteria! Apocalypse! Pandemonium!
And it’s that little part of Portland’s weirdness that inspired a few of us—now six years ago—to run with a little Twitter joke. We started using Twitter to file equally inane and hysteric weather reports. Primarily to mock the Portland news teams stationed around town.
Aaron Hockley and Kelly Guimont were the first to coin the phrasing. They called it the “Portland Twitter Storm Team.” Although, Kelly cautioned that that moniker didn’t have quite enough drama. So she suggested “Portland Twitter! Storm! Team!”
More from Hockley:
I registered the Twitter account for the Portland Twitter! Storm! Team! as @pdxtst and never really did anything with it.
— pdxtst (@pdxtst) January 5, 2008
And then a strange thing happened. The joke—apparently lost on some—got, well, co-opted. For real Portland weather reports. And they kept using it. Again and again.
So it dawned on me that the @pdxtst account could probably be working a little harder. To be less jokey. And more helpful. So I’ve set it up to be a little more active. And to provide a little more information about what’s happening in Portland.
To capture the weather hysteria, of course. But also maybe actually be a resource of information.
So, if you’re interested in staying up-to-date on all the Portland weather craziness and the coverage we love to hate, feel free to follow the Portland Twitter! Storm! Team! on Twitter.
It’s not often that bad jokes turn out this good.