Social Media Make Pipe Dreams Reality

With the announced victory for the Dakota Pipeline protestors in Standing Rock, North Dakota it is worth taking a look at what role social media played in the protests. Over the past few months as information initially started to leak out about the proposed pipeline through the American northwest protestors and supporters took to social media to help spread their message, and it worked. Despite constant resistance from local police and corporate initiatives, the protestors were able to gain enough support and last long enough for a new route to be found for the pipeline that didn’t desecrate the native’s burial grounds, or corrupt their water supply. 


Image Via NPR

Social media could arguably have been a major contributor to the outcome of the protests. With videos and images being distributed digitally, it not only created awareness, but also attracted the support of celebrities and the support of significant social figures. Shailene Woodly an actress most well known for her role in the Divergent series, personally joined the fight after seeing what was happening via social media, as did Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, former vice president Al Gore and many more according to an article by Inside Climate News. Once the announcement was made that the U.S. Army had called for the pipeline to be rerouted, many took to social media in celebration.


Images via Inside Climate News

Not only was social media used to attract attention to the events transpiring at the site of the future pipeline, but also a ‘digital smoke screen’ was call to thwart attempts by law enforcement. Law officials were monitoring those who had ‘checked in’ at the protests in order to target them for violence. The protestors quickly caught on and called for everyone all over to check in to confuse the law enforcement and make it impossible to tell the imposters from the real protestors. The Daily Caller News Foundation .


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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism