On Friday, I was at the 44th Social Media Breakfast in Calgary. Or as it called on Twitter, #smbyyc.
The intention of this is to bring people that are involved and interested Social Media. While there are many that are there that represent a company, there is also many people like me that comes as an individual. I’m not able to always attend these, but when I do, I’m always impressed with the dialogue and the intelligence by the moderator, the panelists and the guests who attend. This one was no different. The discussion Friday was titled Social Media and the Energy Space. The conversation was around how the Energy Sector’s message has been impacted tow factors. The first one being the social media tools that is “getting the message out”. So conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The other factor being many different changes, factors and innovation surrounding both economy and energy right now.
The discussion started with a 10 minute screening that a group called Energy Convo showed. And while It was well done and well filmed, I was wondering in the back of my mind if the film was only speaking to representatives from the energy sector and not other perspectives. Hold that thought as we go on here.
The moderator and the panel, which you can follow were @energyconvo,@PetroFeed,@VanHorne,and @GetVertigo were quite honest that the energy sector has not done a good job in getting their message out. There was an admission they were using a lot of “old technologies” in a new world. They haven’t created the conversation needed to share the narrative they have wanted to share. There was some great insights on how they need to change the conversation.
From the conversation, there were two things that stuck out for me. The first one was the “Branding” of the Province of Alberta as an “Oil and Gas Province”. The question asked was if it was time to change that branding. This is where I could get into a long conversation about branding, but I will resist it. Except to say this. Positively or negatively, Alberta has been “branded”.Positively or negatively, oil companies have been branded. For many all over the world, Alberta and Oil is where the work and the money is. That “brand” is not going to change unless there is a catastrophic economic shift. However, I don’t think it’s the real question. The question that is really being asked and the narrative that is being told is how can we use the resources we have in a responsible and ethical manner. It was the opinion of the panel and the moderator Lori Stewart that we need to share the “positive” stories and not focus so much the “negative” stories. So, share with the stakeholders about thew changes being done in places like the oilseeds. Don’t focus on things like the ducks that fell ill from an oil spill. And while I can appreciate the intent, I have to challenge this perception.
To use an example of my point, I’m sitting in a quiet coffee shop on Granville Street writing this. Let’s just say for instance you were with me and you were not happy with your coffee order. You walk up to the manager and expressed some disappointment or anger that the order was messed up. The manager responds by saying that there is 10 other orders in here and they were perfect. How dare you focus on the fact your order wasn’t. Who are you to say anything? How would you feel about that? You would feel upset. Your concern wasn’t validated or respected. That’s what I think might be happening in the energy conversation.Focusing on the good things, but there seems to lack of acknowledgement of past errors. Or simply mentioning them as small percentages. There have been some incidents that have had massive impacts on the community. Not a small percentage of people, a large percentage of people in communities. It cannot be ignored, it has to be acknowledged. And if it’s not acknowledged, I think many will lose respect.
In my opinion , the social tool is not about controlling or creating the conversation. It’s about realizing the real conversation, and developing solutions. The stakeholder, like the customer is anyone you are in contact with. Investors, employees, residents, animals. Many have a “stake” in this conversation. And the heart of this conversation is what I was my second take away..
That comment was that it is no longer about being the “best in the world”, but being the best for the world. I like that. How can we use what we have been given in a manner that honours our land, our people and ourselves?
If I was to answer this question, I would say disagree. I would say Social Media is challenging the Environment debate.
Because we want what is best for this world.