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BP Damage Control via Facebook

July 19, 2010

Whether you love them or hate them you certainly can’t avoid BP at the moment.  For over twelve weeks oil spewed into the waters of the Gulf Coast.  I don’t know if BP thought they could stop it easily or whether they just didn’t think at all but I do know that they were very slow to respond to the publics’ fears and concerns.  To make matters worse, when they did respond it wasn’t always well thought out. I think one of their biggest mistakes was addressing the technical issues and failing to see the emotional side of things.  People were not only angry but also frightened; worried not only about their livelihood but also about the catastrophic impact this would have on their environment. BP has gone a long way to improve their communications and one outlet they have used is Facebook. With over 36 thousand fans; they post, on average, once an hour everyday including the weekends.  With up-to-the minute reports on the progress of the latest efforts, video interviews, successful rescue missions of the local bird populations and more. Each post receives up-to and above 100 comments.  The responses vary wildly from agreeing with BP to denouncing all and everything they are trying to do.  I do think though that BP is still missing the mark.  Of the last ten posts I could only find one occasion when BP replied to a post.  Now I’m not suggesting that BP involves itself in a back and forth argument with posters but I do think that in the interests of keeping the facts straight, at the very least, they should respond when readers are posting their concerns or inaccurate information. Facebook works best when used as a form of open communication.  Simply stating your case and then running away is not the best thing to do.  Comment on fan posts, add value and information to the conversation and encourage participation.  I know that with approximately twelve posts a day and around 100 comments per post it’s not going to be easy for BP to keep up but it would show that they really do care about what people have to say and that they are not just putting out what they want us to know.

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