If you live in the UK then you'll be well aware of a common topic for conversation - the weather.
On trains, at home, in the office, with friends, family or colleagues, it's the one subject you can be assured of hearing about when you live on a tiny island with such a variable climate.
Twitter provides excellent evidence of the British obsession with the weather, and with it the opportunities for marketing.
Here at Social Media Training Solutions, we've monitored Twitter using our usual selection of tools this morning.
We've specifically monitored it for tweets that directly refer to the weather, in many shapes and forms.
The fact it's a particularly bad day of weather in the United Kingdom was one of the reasons we've done it now, but from previous research you might be surprised to learn the results are never far away from todays plethora of weather related tweets.
We've monitored a 3 hour period, between 7.30am and 10.30am, today (Monday 24th September 2012).
We've kept our searches to tweets directly referencing the weather and removing any tweets where the subject matter might be little more than a coincidental reference to a search term (for example, if someone said "wind it up", it'd not be counted because it's not the context for the word "wind" that we're looking for).
We've included a mass of words, from weather to rain, wind to miserable and many more. We tried to capture what we felt would be around 80% of all tweets intentionally referencing the weather.
Deluge of tweets
The sheer volume of results speaks loudly! Whilst we didn't use the main Twitter site for searching (it'd be impossible to accurately search, collate and analyse the results properly) the screen shot belows shows that tweets were flying through at a rapid pace:
During our 3 hour research period we counted a total of 44,856 tweets, from the United Kingdom, directly referencing the weather.
The most commonly used word in tweets was a rather unsurprising "rain" - it accounted for just over 35%.
It was closely followed by "weather", with 30% of tweets mentioning it as either a word or hashtag.
The remaining 35% of results come from a huge variety of tweets, with words such as "awful" and "miserable" being commonplace.
We think it's fair to say that the mood of nation was easy to see this morning on Twitter. If anyone was running a "Happy index" assessment on the UK this morning you could probably predict the results very accurately!
What use it is for marketing?
The fact is that all this type of conversation has marketing value - you just need to think carefully about what is being discussed and whether the people discussing it are the audience you want - and then how you engage them.
Who'd be interested in finding people, in a distinct timeframe, talking about the rain today? Well, coffee shops, places providing a haven of warmth and relaxation, and maybe those looking to provide someone with a lift in mood!
That's just the beginning. If you think about it for a few minutes, the list grows quickly.
How do you use that? Well you can find them, no problem at all. You can also find them by location or approximate location; even in proximity to where you're based! Using Twitter's advanced searching you can be remarkably precise in finding relevant and nearby tweets.
You know what people are tweeting about, so join in! Engage in conversation, use the same words, converse, sympathise, congratulate (the latter may be difficult today) - but do so genuinely.
If you're a travel agent, might you want to tempt those talking of such gloom with a break away? Again, you can do so genuinely and without annoyance if you're careful with your audience and the conversation you engage in.
The possibilities are endless, you just need to focus on where the opportunity is and how to use it.
Whether (no pun intended!) you're a garden centre, coffee shop, wellington boot manufacturer, holiday company, transport provider or heating engineer - the potential behind the British weather and the conversation it spurs on Twitter is incredibly broad.