Public relations firm Gregory FCA recently used the Nielsen BuzzMetrics service to conduct a study of traditional media, as well as social media, to determine whether public sentiment or perception on the whole is pro, neutral, or anti-drilling with respect to drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Gregory FCA’s survey included more than 100 million online and traditional media comments as part of the study.
The results for traditional media—newspapers, television, and radio:
Since the beginning of 2010, the positive sentiment in traditional media for Marcellus Shale has fallen dramatically, from a high of +3.1 to a low of -0.3 in January 2011. The rating falls on a 10-point scale with -5 being the most negative sentiment and +5 being the most positive sentiment. Zero reflects neutral sentiment.*
And the results for social media—all of those tweets, status updates and blog comments:
An investigation into social media, or online discussions and conversations about Marcellus Shale, shows a similar deterioration. For most of 2010, online commenters were positive to Marcellus Shale development, averaging a positive sentiment that ranged between +3 and +4. But late in the year, that goodwill and sentiment began to turn less positive, and was only +1.1 in January 2011.*
Gregory FCA follows up the results with a list of suggestions for how those who support drilling should act, based on this knowledge. It is well worth the read and MDN recommends you click over to read the entire post on the Gregory FCA blog site.
The initial reaction for those who support drilling might be, So what? We have jobs and lives and don’t sit in front of the computer or attend protests rabble-rousing 24/7! That may be true, but it misses the point. Sooner or later, the media, right or wrong, will influence the majority of those who consume its messages, and when that majority is in strong agreement, whether right or wrong, it tends to enforce its will on the minority.
Gregory FCA has hit upon a key issue for those who support drilling in the Marcellus: Public opinion does matter, and those who support drilling ignore it at their own peril.
*Gregory FCA ‘Gregarious’ Blog (Feb 21) – Are we winning or losing the public relations battle on Marcellus Shale?