LinkedIn articles.....publish at your peril

I saw this morning that one of my network had commented to the CEO of BP Bernard Looney on an article he had published… “Well done Bernard and BP” wrote my connection

So I then took a look at what Bernard had written: Today, here in the UK, we announced we will be providing free fuel at our retail sites for the emergency services – the women and men who we are all depending on to protect us during this time.

Wow! was my first thought. What an amazing gesture…women and men leaving their families to drive into work to protect us all… would be getting free fuel. Is how I read that. Then I dug into the 450 comments and a different picture emerged. This is not for the front line workers personal vehicles… it is for the “company” vehicles. The comments back and forth are summarised by this exchange.

Question from Philip French

Is this help for the government, or help for emergency workers? Not much of a gesture if it is the former,… more ‘advertising’ really.

Reply from Bernard Looney

Phillip - this is supporting the emergency services and elderly. We do not profit from this. One thing I would strongly refute is that this is advertising. This is helping the communities that support our business. We genuinely want to help.

From Philip French

Bernard Looney: no this is supporting government finances, supporting emergency services would be offering fuel at a discount for emergency services personnel. You made an ambiguous statement that lead people to believe you were supporting the overworked and overwhelmed staff as you can see from the many questions on this post.

I applaud Bernard Looney for being the public face of BP and leading from the front in this way… but I would argue that this is damaging for BP. LinkedIn does not allow a full edit history of the article. If so you could modify the article and in your comment apologise for the lack of clarity, whilst allowing full transparency. Much better that this article be shared with all the BP employees before being released onto public social media. Based on the statements front line emergency workers turned up at BP garages to be told we know nothing about this.

Having been in the position, 20 years ago, of being responsible for an online campaign with some 10,000 highly intelligent advocates: I can confirm that sharing your thoughts behind the closed doors of your organisation and engaging with the “wisdom of the crowds” ensured that I did not end up with egg on my face when we went public. And this was against a Government renowned for its practice of the Dark Arts of Spin (Alistair Campbell etc)

The open source digital tools now available are 1000% better than the digital tools I used 20 years ago and would help Bernard deliver on his clear and admirable desire to be open and transparent

Please note : Revision history is the number at the top right of this article

LinkedIn copy of this article here