The BP oil spill has been a PR nightmare for the company and they have been working hard on organizing a social media campaign to counter and ameliorate the public’s view of the brand. The public, on the other hand, have used social media in very creative and effective ways to shine light on certain aspects of the disaster and express their scorn for the BP brand and how they have handled things with one misstep after the other.
We will be looking at how the public manifested its psyche on several different social media fronts:
Twitter has been at the forefront of taking jabs at BP, The fake BP Public Relations account – @BPGlobalPR – has been a run away hit with fans and has been taking sophomoric jabs at the company and providing its fans with the highest quality of satire. The account has almost three times as many followers as BP’s official Twitter account. To BP’s credit, they have reacted greatly to the satirical nature of the account and didn’t wage a crusade against it. Some even go as far as saying that the account is managed by BP’s real PR to lighten up the atmosphere around the company’s name.
Tumblr joined a list of organizations that are working to raise money to help clean the oil spill. If you give a donation to any of the groups that are helping with the oil spill, they will unlock a limited edition black background from your account preferences that would replace their iconic ocean blue default background.
The parody Valhalla of the internet is certainly the Youtube, so it’s naturally filled with a lot of videos that are making fun of BP and its handling of the disaster. Probably the most popular of those videos comes from the UCBcomedy channel and its BP Coffee spill skit.
Youtube hasn’t only contributed by providing humour and parodies, it was also the place where a lot of people posted about their experiences on the beach after oil has hit the shores. Also it was a major venue for news exposes and documentation of the effects of the oils spill on the environment. They didn’t stop their, they have also collaborated with PBS news hour to give Youtube users the chance to interview the CEO of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization live and on the web. The interview occurred on July 1st.
The BP Facebook fanpage has a measly 35,000+ fans on their nauseatingly optimistic and positive page. The page is mainly used as a mouthpiece for the BP spin machine with a few adds sprinkled throughout the page. On the other hand, the wildly popular Boycott BP fanpage faced a few hiccups and “accidental” deletions by Facebook but it has been a focal point for disseminating news about the disaster and has more than 823,500+ fans. Moreover, a quick search on Openbook will show just how active people have been in updating their statuses with news about the BP spill, which helps to spread the word beyond the activist core that would join cause pages and groups.
Whether it’s a Facebook status update or a video parody on Youtube, everyone is joining in the conversation and it’s becoming very difficult for BP’s PR to control the message or use a well polished commercial to change the public opinion because no one will listen to them! In the age of the internet, it is a lot more credible to hear something from your friend rather than the company’s PR boutique and once a company loses its credibility with the public, then it will be the bane of that brand.
So what are your thoughts about the way the public used social media to voice their opinion? Have you participated? Please share with us your opinions in our comment section