I am not a social media guy, this blog notwithstanding. So I was surprised to learn of a whole category of social media I did not know existed, when I stumbled across www.fracfeed.com, a website sponsored by an organization called North Texans For Natural Gas. North Texans for Natural Gas describes itself as a “grassroots organization” sponsored by Devon Energy, EnerVest, EOG Resources, and XTO Energy, to promote the development and image of natural gas, particularly in the Barnett Shale area of North Texas. Fracfeed.com creates “memes” to promote its cause.
A “meme” is defined as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An internet meme is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet. One kind of meme seen on the Internet is an “image macro” meme, which according to Wikipedia takes the following form:
Behind the text is an image “typically drawn from a set of ‘known images’ that are understood by many Internet users.”
According to Wikipedia, “Public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals have embraced Internet memes as a form of viral marketing and guerrilla marketing to create marketing “buzz” for their product or service. The practice of using memes to market products or services is known as memetic marketing. Internet memes are seen as cost-effective, and because they are a (sometimes self-conscious) fad, they are therefore used as a way to create an image of awareness or trendiness.”
And so, North Texans for Natural Gas has developed fracfeed.com, where memes promoting the natural gas industry can be found. Some examples from the site:
I’m not sure what to think of this “viral marketing” phenomenon. Devon, Enervest, EOG and XTO get together and hire a public relations firm to create a new website with memes that they hope will make fracking trendy and cool. Maybe, maybe not.
North Texans for Natural Gas also provides helpful “information” to the public, like its explanation of House Bill 40, passed by the last Texas legislature, which reduced the power of cities to regulate drilling and production activities within their jurisdictions. According to North Texans for Natural Gas, House Bill 40 actually preserves local control over drilling activities, protects private property rights, and saves taxpayers money. I suspect the Fort Worth City Council would be surprised to know those facts.
I do like the Donald Trump meme, though. I still haven’t been able to figure out how he does his hair.