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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.

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Los Angeles video

Video: Artist Cole Sternberg on His ‘The Content is Bleeding Through’ Installation

I interviewed Cole Sternberg (no relation) last weekend at the unveiling of his new installation. I love the theme and concept of the work, however, i can’t possibly imagine taking the time to rewrite such asinine content all over someone’s walls, ceilings and floors. Cole did it over the course of seven months at a back house on the residence of Normandie Keith in the Hollywood Hills. The 24-hour newscycle, gossip media, and technology such as Twitter has brought the future into our laps and shirt-pockets. Cole calls this a “vision for this apocalyptic moment when media and technology have pushed us so far that all the content blurs together.”

Video and interview below as well as photos from the event.

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media tech

Interview: Dermot McCormack, EVP Digital Media, MTV Networks @ CES 2011

Can MTV.com do what many have tried (and failed) to do over the past decade-and-a-half — become the MTV of the internet? MTV Networks’ head of digital media told us that’s exactly what he’s set out to do in 2011. I spoke with EVP of MTV.com Dermot McCormack about iPads, Android tablets and the future of MTV digital and mobile programming at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

Originally posted at LAist.com

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internet media

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2010

Borrowed from one of my fave sites, flowingdata.com

tourists in sf

10. Asteroid Discovery

Scott Manley of the Armagh Observatory visualized 30 years of asteroid discoveries. It’s a straightforward animation that shows planets and asteroids orbiting the sun, with waves of twinkles as discoveries are made. I especially liked the contrast between human and automated discoveries.