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The short answer is YES. The larger questions are WHY? HOW? And for WHOM? I had the pleasure of speaking about ‘Understanding Social Media’ at the Social Media Forum hosted by CAPP (@OilGasCanada) this past Tuesday. The forum presented discussion topics such as CAPP’s Social Media Plan, Pumptalk Blog Experience, and Mind the Gap.
The forum hosted a range of people from web and electronic communications, public and investor relations, marketing communications, legal services and media from companies such as Shell Canada, Enerplus, Nexen, CAPP and of course DMD Green (@DMDGreen) to name a few. What was different about this forum was that it generated thoughtful discussion. So many forums will have a few ‘experts’ present a topic which may generate a few surface level questions and then on to the next so-called subject matter expert.
This forum was more about discussion between the attendees than it was the SME’s. Refreshing! This leads me to believe that many in the oil and gas industry are giving careful consideration to new ways of communicating. I have more hope now than I ever did.
The most interesting topic that came up again and again during the discussion was how can producers use this channel effectively? Although many of the participants had several great suggestions about how they will propose social media strategies to their executives, it comes down to this:
Social media in oil and gas is more about CULTURAL CHANGE than it is about technological change.
An organization has to be ready to engage and have a discussion with people. Just because organizations have the ability to converse with Joe Public (via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, etc.) doesn’t mean they will, or want to, or feel they need to.
The jury is still out on how ‘ready’ the oil and gas industry is to communicate openly through social media. I expect that there will be a few innovators who will take advantage early bearing all the fruits and manage the risk. We will see an emergence of a few early adopters soon followed by the main stream who realize they are missing out on opportunities. Finally, the laggards will be brought along out of necessity and the resistors kicking and screaming all the while missing the point.
Social Media is another tool to add to your organization’s communication tool box. It’s up to you to take advantage. So jump up and join the discussion.