THE BLOG

Is Social Media Bad for the Environment?

10/03/2013 19:32 GMT | Updated 09/05/2013 10:12 BST

I thought a knew a fair amount about environmental issues and even more about the English language. But when a friend passed me over an article about a new contraption promising to make fracking 'greener' I was confronted with two challenges. Reading about the unknown, in an unknown language. And yet it was English. What the Frack?

Fracking is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas, or other substances for extraction.... it creates fractures from drilling into reservoir rock formations.

Thank goodness, the first paragraph of the 'fracking' page in Wikipedia came to my rescue. Now natural gas, and the fossil fuel discussion, I was familiar with; as it happens I'm an avid reader a little known website (aptly called Investment Undergound, no fracking pun intended) which publishes more than my daily dose of stock market analysis on alternative energy (as well as commodities and technology). When you're online as much as I am, you stumble across plenty of obscure but useful stuff. Yet it seems as usual, that despite my voracious online consumption, I only knew half the story. It turns out that the 'fracking' carried out for natural gas has a hidden danger - methane leakage. And in such quantities that

the total greenhouse footprint for shale gas could be up to twice that of coal over a 20-year period. Grist.com

As we move through the information era with all resources at our disposal so increasingly we have more and more knowledge ...but only a little in each subject area and - oh wait - isn't that a dangerous thing? Most of my reading is of opinion pieces blogs, tweets and statuses. With everyone vying for their fifteen minutes with literary or visual attempts to shock in the most controversial way possible... impartiality is no more.

Apparently as a woman in her 30s who tweets, facebooks and pins, I am a media maven. A social media influencer. Someone who makes her voice heard about "people, brands and movements."

The study found women who use social media are almost double as likely to recommend a brand to their friends and family. The study also found that social media women are more likely to ask for recommendations when it comes time to buy products.  Women are also influential in their never ending question to re-tweet brands and products and to re-pin their favorite things on Pinterest. [The Women of Social Media, Social News Daily]

I'm a mother of two. I make calls on not buying Nestle (a cause left over from my student days), trying desperately to use eco-products on my children's bottoms and feed them organic food. I know about Parabens, Spelt & Fluoride. What goes in my children's body is too important to ignore.

I'm an environmentally conscious entrepreneur. My online company partners with the International Tree Foundation. I'm familiar with Clean Tech, social business and Fair trade. How we do sustainable business is of great interest to me.

I'm an eco-warrior. I live on an island without any cars, which recycles assiduously and raises its own sheep for slaughter. Last summer I even saw hay being cut with scythes (sorry for the italics - but I did think when I saw it that I'd moved back to the 18th century).

But thanks to the immediacy and prevalence of social media, my knowledge is patchy at best. There's no depth to my expertise and yet I make my decisions on patchy ill formed opinions, no longer trusting experts because I'm educated on the web.

And now, thanks to the post my friend shared on facebook, I'll be telling my friends about the 'silent-but-deadly' properties of fracking, even though I only read through half the article before I switched to Pinterest...