North Texas Daily

Social media aids Frack Free Denton

Social media aids Frack Free Denton

October 14
19:53 2014

Kristen Watson / Contributing writer

Social activism has evolved with the changing of the decades. Campaigns, once full of marches, sit-ins and rallies, now have an additional layer of effectiveness: the use of social media.

Enter Frack Free Denton.

Frack Free Denton is an organization that raises awareness about unconventional shale gas development in Denton, and is currently leading a push to see the practice banned in a citywide vote Nov. 4.

Founding member and assistant philosophy professor Adam Briggle said social media has been invaluable to the cause.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow social activists to reach a wider audience at the ease of a few keystrokes and clicks. It allows groups such as Frack Free Denton to easily organize, educate and inform, Briggle said.

Journalism professor Samra Bufkins, who specializes in strategic social media, has followed Frack Free Denton on Facebook and Twitter throughout their campaign.

“I actually found out about [fracking] through social media because I have a well that’s a little closer to my house than I’d like it to be,” Bufkins said. “Just today, I went on Facebook and asked somebody how to get one of the yard signs so that I can express my opinion in my yard.”

Students on UNT’s campus have also felt the organization’s efforts. With more than 4,000 likes on Facebook and around 400 followers on Twitter, Frack Free Denton’s soapbox reaches quite a crowd. Geography senior Gillian Murphy is among those following the organization on social media.

“I have retweeted several tweets from Frack Free Denton,” Murphy said. “I haven’t engaged directly in dialogue through Twitter, but tweets that I have posted individually have been retweeted by friends as well as strangers, so I hope that’s a sign that my input stimulated some thoughts surrounding the issue.”

Having a social media strategy is important when attempting to inform as many people as possible about a group’s issue. Briggle said cross-promoting his blog with Facebook was the most effective strategy they have tested so far.

“I think social media has empowered us to reach more people and to quickly respond to industry misinformation,” Briggle said.

Early voting begins Oct. 17. Locations include Sanger Church of Christ, Denton Civic Center and UNT’s Sycamore Hall. More information about the upcoming election can be found at votedenton.com/upcoming-election-information.

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