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.

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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.

  1. YES! One of the best things to come out of Portland Tech! I even made a horrible graphic for it: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3352/3231328079_b112903d35_o.jpg

  2. Portland,>>> The West Hills sees a snow flake and schools start closing with on-scene reporters,… on camera,… on overpasses, and/or picking up semi- frozen leaves, rubbing the ground with their hands, and cars roaring by in the rain,. all followed by isolated close-up shots of random ice particles and voicing impending doom, demonstrating in a manner in which the apocalypse is upon us all…. it’s ridiculous.

  3. I remember tweeting snow at the zoo updates to #pdxtst in December of 2008, and having real reporters call me for more information. I heart #pdxtst, and all the weather hysteria in which Portlanders engage.

  4. Wow – really? 6 years. ah the good old days!

  5. What seems crazy to me, considering the size of Twitter now, is the fact that #pdxtst was a trending topic on a few occasions, when it was still basically a joke.

  6. Here’s how to “join” the Portland! Twitter! Storm! Team! if you want to:

    1. Tweet the weather and your location (Raining frogs at Pioneer Square!)
    2. Add #pdxtst to your tweet.
    3. Profit!

    I realize these are stringent requirements indeed, but if you can follow them, membership is yours!

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