Internet Goes Wild as Bumblebee Species is Placed on U.S. Endangered Species List for the First Time
On January 10, 2017, a species of bumblebee was placed on the U.S. Endangered Species list for the first time; the internet went wild.
The bumblebee species, known as the rusty patched bumblebee (for the red color on its abdomen), was once abundant throughout the upper midwest and northeastern regions of the U.S., as well as into Canada, throughout Quebec and Ontario.
Unfortunately today, according to a statement by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, "only a few small, scattered populations remain in 13 states and Ontario." The rusty patched bumblebee's population has decreased about 90% since the 1990s, USFWS noted.
It's estimated that every third bite one takes out of their meal can be attributed to a pollinator, most likely a bee.
If economics is your thing, estimates show the economic value of pollinators is somewhere around 30 billion dollars annually and around 14 billion of that comes from bees.
Could this be why the internet is a-buzz?
The Internet is Buzzing with Lots of Shares, and Lots of Links About Bumblebees
AE Digital conducted an analysis of the top 20 media outlets (by share count) who shared a story about the bumblebee species' addition to the endangered species list, and found that well over 300,000 social media users shared the outlets' respective stories across various social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. The vast majority of those social shares came from Facebook (>90%).
Leading the pack by a very large margin in terms of social share count was NPR.org, coming in just shy of 140,000 total shares. National Geographic's story on the topic received about half as many shares as NPR's. USA Today received about half as many as NatGeo, and I F***ing Love Science received about half as many as USA Today. That's where it starts to level off a bit, with CNN's story receiving about 3,000 fewer shares than I F***ing Love Science's.
One can certainly hope that this buzz of online activity for the bumblebees will move the needle in terms of conversation efforts, time will tell.
On top of the share counts, these top 20 stories generated over 200 linking domains back to them (e.g. other blogs, like this one, linking to stories), with the large majority of those links going to NPR and The Guardian.
Why the Buzz?
As we discussed in our last blog post, "Tips and Secrets to Acquire Links to Your Organization's Content," people share content and link to content for different reasons:
Will it Move the Needle for Conservation? Or is it Just More Internet Slacktivism?
Well, one can certainly hope that this buzz of online activity for the bumblebees will move the needle in terms of conversation efforts, time will tell.
But one thing's for sure: the more we can effectively channel our collective voices to let businesses and our leaders know that we won't just let bee species go buzzing to extinction the better. So we're off to a pretty good start.
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