Shale Gas: The View from Twitter
The following article was posted on our friend Nick Grealy’s No Hot Air blog on June 12 and is posted here at his request.
I keep on remarking that the actual level of controversy over “controversial” shale gas (156 Google News results in the last 24 hours alone) exists much more in the mind of journalists than the public.
As is obvious, I sometimes have no idea what I’m up to technically. But according to the professional media, Twitter is the place to be for clued in and clueless alike, and is especially loved by the alleged opinion formers of the world as presenting an immediate democratic mirror of what the world is thinking.
If that is the case, then the world doesn’t appear to think of shale gas as being controversial, contentious or even open to debate. That may well be because lots of people don’t know, or is that they are more interested in more mundane topics?
The numbers here of followers from shale gas Twitter accounts, should be taken with a combination of humility, humanity and a truckload of salt. But, it may also be an indication the actual “controversy” is more perception than reality. Notice how generally pro-shale gas (in yellow) do and how there is clearly more interest in the business of shale gas than there is in stopping it. Chesapeake Energy followers quadruple Gasland, after all.
Thanks for the follows! Imagine how many I would have if I knew halfway what I was doing. Now, it may be that people are mad on Facebook, or Google Plus. Or, it could be that people against shale aren’t great believers in social networking after all.
Or possibly, hydraulic fracturing opponents are neither deep nor wide and seem to be a fringe group that newspapers, and the politicans that read them, should start putting into perspective more and obsessing about less.
Follow Nick Grealy on Twitter!