Communicating during a crisis in the past 10 years has drastically changed. Smart phones, texting, Facebook and Twitter provide opportunities not available in the past. The benefits from these advances in technology create a world of two-way communication, boundless spread of knowledge and all of it done within a manner of seconds. Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn’t it? On an average day, yes, social media is amazing and helpful for its daily users. When ignored though social media use (more of lack of use) can cause extensive problems.
A perfect example of this is British Petroleum’s Twitter account. During our meeting, John Deveney shared some surprising information. Before the oil spill BP had a total of 52 tweets in a year (this means one tweet each week). This seemed appropriate since they didn’t necessarily need to sell their product. But here is where the surprise came, how many tweets do you think BP had after the spill? Five a minute? No. Nine a day? No. They posted one a week as if nothing had changed.
By not embracing social media as a friend and utilizing it to its full potential before a crisis BP allowed social media m to become a foe in its time of need. Due to lack of communication via social media vehicles satirical twitter accounts criticizing BP cropped up, causing more confusion and reputation damage for BP. This missed opportunity in my opinion was the biggest communication mistake during the spill. BP could have created good will and shaped the story, by just utilizing their Twitter account. It wouldn’t have taken much for the corporation to ask the department, that they currently employed, to up the number of tweets being posted each day.