BP Oil Spill: When Crisis Management is Compounded by Social Media

I had the privilege of guest lecturing in Bill Imada’s graduate class at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (my alma mater). The title of the class — JOUR 568– is Critical Thinking and Crisis Management and I was asked to demonstrate the importance of social media in crisis communications and to present a case study. Well it turned out not being so much of a lecture — or even a case study for that matter — as it was a critical review of BP’s [lack of] response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster of April 2010 and the ensuing oil spill that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly 3 months unchecked.

Click through to the videos in the presentation. Especially BP Spills Coffee. Riotous, no? But there’s truth to every bit of the parody. While BP was too focused on its record-breaking earnings and deflecting blame, it needed to address the reality of what was — and is — a very human tragedy in the eyes and on the active social networks of the public. And BP was way too late to that game.

The U.S. government just approved the first permit for deep-water drilling in the gulf since the disaster and there remains no known fix should history repeat itself. But our consumer culture didn’t get to where it is today out of an abundance of caution. This is where crisis management runs counter to traditional public relations. Organizations cannot wait to get involved on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, they must be proactively engaging and listening to their audiences. Sometimes communication is the only viable regulation.

Photos and More From CitizenGulf LA – August 25 2010

You’ll see more and more content here as the night goes on. And come on down — it’s going to be fun and it’s going late — here are the details.

Unable to attend a CitizenGulf Benefit tonight? You can still donate directly by clicking the icon below. Tag your tweets and photos #CitizenGulf so we can see them here. Thanks for your support.

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Continue reading “Photos and More From CitizenGulf LA – August 25 2010”

Suggest Songs for Gulf Coast Benefit Mixes!

Like many on the #CitizenGulf team, I’m powered in part by listening to a great deal of music. Now that we’re focused on raising funds for the families of the fishermen whose livelihoods are affected by the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, we must look to the sounds of the Gulf Coast and the Louisiana Bayou for inspiration and motivation.

Here is the first in a series of digital mixtapes. I’d love your input and suggestions on upcoming mixes. You can suggest a song very easily:

  1. Go to Blip.fm (login or register)
  2. Search for a song and click “Blip”
  3. Include @gulfbenefit in the text and/or #CitizenGulf

Can’t find it on Blip.fm? You can also tweet a song to us via Grooveshark, Twt.fm, Song.ly, or Tinysong.

For more information on #CitizenGulf Gulf Coast Benefit’s August 25th National Day of Action visit gulfcoastbenefit.com.