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The Fundamental Flaw in BP’s Social Media Push



What’s missing from this list of words?

Updates
Response
Statement
Briefing
Broadcast
Distribution
Push

Those are just some of the words that I found while looking around BP’s social media efforts for the Gulf oil spill. So, what’s missing?

How about…

Listening
Engaging
Discussing
Conversation
Dialog
Understanding

You’ll be hard pressed to find any of those words. There’s little coming from BP’s “response” page, Facebook page, Twitter account or YouTube profile that suggests that BP is interested in any type of conversation with those affected by the oil spill.

Not that you can fully blame BP. It’s an archaic company, not used to holding conversations with the “small people” –also known as its customers. And it’s PR advice is coming from another traditional agency–which may not have the “conversation” experience, or may simply be constrained by BP’s instructions on actually talking to people.

If BP really wants to “use” social media to help fight the reputation backlash it’s facing, it needs to understand that the medium is a conversation. Right now, it’s using social media the same way it uses TV or Print. It’s only telling us its side of the story and not letting us talk back to BP executives. Who knows, maybe us “small people” might have the answer to cap that leaking pipe! ;-)

(hat-tip)

  • Pingback: THINKing » Cap The Spill, Then We’ll Talk

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    You mean this isn’t a one way, one sided medium we are using? Geesh, that explains some of the issues I have been having ………. ;-)

    Archaic or not, oil company or not, if BP doesn’t drag its sorry butt into the 21st century (or its agency grows a set of “you know whats” and actually provides a service for their small people -oooops- customers) this will only get worse. Any results including CEO removal etc will be well deserved and completely asked for.

  • Don

    It’s too soon for BP to be using social platforms as conversation tools, and any PR firm that advises them to do so should be fired. Regardless of how you feel about BP, they’re doing a masterful job at controlling the flow of information in an age where that’s nearly impossible. Because of the mounting lawsuits and legal challenges BP is facing, they cannot simply open the lines of communication, especially with their executives and those directly affected by the spill. I can’t imagine what could be accomplished by “holding conversations” with people before the well is actually plugged; the 50,000 gallons of crude pumping into the Gulf everyday would be a bit distracting don’t you think? BP’s priority, now, is to stop the leak and keep the public apprised of the progress. Once this has been achieved, then the company can begin engaging, discussing, and so on.

  • http://PeterFuller.org Peter Fuller MBA

    I do not think BP really wants to engage. Which makes me think that there are many using social media exactly the same way.

    And they wonder why it is not working.

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  • David M

    I’d love to know where Anadarko’s social media push is, come to think of it I’d like to know why they haven’t had the decency to contribute to the clean up or the escrow fund considering they are 25% liable for the costs of the clean up.

    I find it fascinating how all the focus is on BP when Anadarko own 25% of the lease and Mitsui own 10% of the lease. The rig was operated by Transocean at the time of the accident, not BP and the blow out preventer which failed three times was manufactured by Cameron International.

    A lot of this accident could have been prevented by proper regulation by the MMS – yet there is hardly any mention of this.

    This is a terrible tragedy, however it does need to be reported accurately in the social media with all sides of this unfolding mess being reported.

  • http://scholarshipworldwide.blogspot.com Mira

    BP has done lots of damages to the nature and They must have to pay for this. No efforts should be granted.

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  • http://oilandgasjobssearch.weebly.com Oil Rig and Gas Jobs

    Great info.. i had alot of this info on my mind the other day.. glad to see i am not the only one..

    I hear that the oil rig industry is doing major hiring.. Check my site if you need a gig.. good things for 2010 – 2011.

  • Pingback: BP Oil Spill: A Timeline of Economic and Environmental Destruction | Penn Olson

  • http://www.disturbedlogo.com Disturbed

    Despite the danger growing every minute and the environment being damaged with every barrel of leaking crude, we Americans are still arguing whether the IRANIANs are experts or not.

    Lets stop being skeptical about others abilities just because we have failed. failed our nation, our environment and our marine life.

    The world knows that the Iranians are experts in drilling and oil leak prevention and containment. Even the oil producing nations would bet for their skills in this crisis. It is us who are full of doubts. and the only reason for this is Israel. We see everyone who is Israel’s adversary as our enemy. Anyone who talks anti-Zionist becomes our hate symbol. Lets get out of this Zionist mindset and this Iranophobia. It is our nation and its environment at stake today.

    We need to rise above our political difference, they can be settled sometime else.

    Lets call for the IRANIANs now before its too late to do anything better

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  • Sephy Hambaz

    Social media or not, BP doesn’t have a way to spin this.