The Standing Rock Sioux blog has been a source of news and a call to action for the movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline being built near Native Land, half a mile upstream from the tribe’s only water source. Stopping the Pipeline is the cause itself, they give clear focused steps to help the cause, the blog’s visual layout is stunning and worth a look for inspiration. The background is a full-screen film loop of the tribe in their Native dress and on horseback with Native tack. It does grab one’s attention right away. There are links to their Tumblr and Facebook but not to their Twitter, which would be the only criticism I would have. There is an interactive link called “Map of Oceti Sakowin” which shows the map of the area and takes you through a step-by-step simulated explanation of where the pipeline plans to be built, where protest camp is located, and where the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is. Going through the breakdown on the map engages the reader and at the end of it there is a petition to President Obama to permanently reject the Dakota Access Pipeline. The final goal is to get it shut down and a Presidential decree would be a possible way forward.
The blog has a section entitled “Share on Social Media” which has a “Suggested Facebook” posts, “Suggested Instagram” posts, and “Suggested Tweets” for Twitter.
Grabbing the audience’s attention on social media has been vital to this movement as traditional media is hesitant to upset a possible sponsor (the oil companies or the banks which are financing the pipeline). Keeping current with posts and information on how people can take action to help has been the key to this staying in people’s newsfeeds: donations, petitions, and spreading the news.
Their Facebook page complements their blog by giving up to date information on the protests and a forum to discuss things like the police’s tactics against the protesters, posting pictures and video pertaining to such, and raising awareness of the ways which the Pipeline’s construction can damage the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water supply. Recent posts have been focused on showing precedents for their concerns, such as statistics and news on oil pipeline explosion frequency.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Twitter Page calls the audience to action by petitioning President Obama to stop the pipeline. It also engages the audience by keeping the most up-to-date, live stream of information by the protesters themselves.
Overall, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Stand With Standing Rock social media campaign is focused on their goal, to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. They are able to tell their stories on Facebook and blogs to engage their audience and explain why their land and their waterways are important for them and their children. On each of the social platforms, they give many options to help them take action: petitions, donations, and spreading awareness.
Grabbing attention has been the most difficult thing for them to do. They have been an invisible people in their own land, shuffled to whichever plot of land the government deemed useless to their own purposes. They have to compete with whatever Tweet Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, or Kanye West has crapped out of their heads at 3am and then every Facebook post, analysis, and Meme which comes out of it for the next two weeks. People fighting for their land and the health of their children isn’t as exciting to Americans. Around Thanksgiving, famous people started stumping for Standing Rock, such as, Mark Ruffalo, Joss Whedon, Neil Young, Alyssa Milano, Patton Oswald, Katy Perry, and Orlando Bloom. They’ve posted the hashtags #StandWithStandingRock and #NoDAPL on their Facebooks and Twitter feeds, but not many have actually gone there. Rubber bullets and tear gas may be a deterrent, but there is also a certain trendiness to hashtag activism. Wearing a Lance Armstrong bracelet was cool for a while, but it really said, “I gave $2 to cancer research for a piece of plastic to show how committed I am to cancer research.” It is difficult to make people do the right thing for the right reasons. Some of these celebrities may have a genuine interest in the cause. However, I wonder how many know that the Standing Rock Tribe is Sioux? Motives aside, this is the only time when the major media has given attention to this issue, when a celebrity gets involved it winds up in a fluff piece on the evening news. Everyone marvels at their generosity and goes back to ignoring the cause itself.
They’ve recently grabbed attention by 2,000 U.S. veterans pledging to go up to Standing Rock and oppose the police with the protestors. That got the Army Corp of Engineers’ attention and they denied the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction permit on the grounds that it would jeopardize the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s main water source and burial grounds. It seems the Sioux have won a major victory, for now. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/05/us/dakota-access-pipeline/index.html?sr=MSGRCNN120516dakota-access-pipeline1154AMVODtopus