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May 25, 2010
BP Endures Twitter Parody
 

BP is keeping its cool over an imposter Twitter feed from @bpglobalpr which, when it was launched last week, even used BP's green and yellow logo. (Now it's using an oil-blackened one.)

BP hasn't asked Twitter to take the site down, and Twitter apparently won't do that unless it's asked. The situation is instructive for companies monitoring the advance of social media, what might occur with their own names in a Twitter context, and what they should do to preserve their corporate identities intact -- in good times and bad.

AdAge's story on the BP situation includes Twitter's guidelines for parody accounts. Twitter encourages parody but says such sites "should not be the exact name of the subject of the parody, commentary, or fandom; to make it clearer, you should distinguish the account with a qualifier such as 'not,' 'fake' or 'fan.'"

The fake BP site doesn't do that and has attracted more than double (13,000 plus) the followers of BP's official @BP America feed. 

So far, BP doesn't seem to mind. The spill-preoccupied company seems to view the site as a way to allow people to vent. Call it a BP empathy response  in the face of massive corporate adversity.

BP seems to be trying to show there is humanity at its core in a number of ways. Aside from the Twitter situation, BP chief executive Tony Hayward visited the scene in coastal Louisiana yesterday, pledged $500 million to study the spill's impact and added, "As I said, it's clear that the defense of the shoreline, at this point, has not been successful. I feel devastated by that, absolutely gutted. What I can tell you is that we are here for the long haul. We are going to clean every drop of oil off the shore."

May they stop it from leaking first.  


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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