About a week ago I noticed an article about a Twitter handle that was making waves regarding the BP oil spill, sorry for the bad pun. Last check they were up to 112,000 plus followers on Twitter and growing by the thousands daily. I forwarded it to some friends and I got the usual response, some loved it and others thought it was in poor taste for making light of the situation. I don’t think I did a great job of explaining why I thought making fun of the BP folks and their terrible response (both from a PR standpoint and obviously from a containment/stoppage perspective), through humor, was very powerful and effective.
Below is an excerpt from blog post by the man behind @BPGlobalPR who does a much better job in pleading the case for humor as a powerful weapon in the social media arsenal. Please give it as well as the full post a read.
When I was growing up, there was a dog that lived on my block named Leroy. Leroy was a big dog with a disdain for leashes and a thirst for blood. He made a habit of running around our block attacking anything he saw, biting my dad and my dogs basically whenever he had the chance. He chased me a few times, but I always escaped because I was/am an amazing tree climber.
Anyhoos, after Leroy’s second or third attack on my dogs, it became clear that the police and Leroy’s owner weren’t going to do anything to stop him, so my dad took matters into his own hands and came up with a brilliant invention: the Leroy stick.
The Leroy stick was, you guessed it, a stick. My dad carried an axe handle and I carried a plunger handle. My dad told me two things about carrying the Leroy stick. First, if Leroy came near me or the dogs, I should hit him. Second, if I hit Leroy with my stick, I would not get in trouble. Was it legal? Probably not. Was it right? It sure felt like it. We set the example and soon a lot of our neighbors started carrying Leroy sticks as well. Soon enough, Leroy and his owner saw everyone carrying sticks and Leroy didn’t run free anymore.
If you think the point of this story is to beat dogs with sticks, then I’m guessing you probably still think I work for BP as well.
The point of this story is that if someone is terrorizing your neighborhood, sometimes it’s alright to grab a stick and take a swing. Social media, and in this particular case Twitter, has given average people like me the ability to use and invent all sorts of brand new sticks. Read more…