Have you seen the fake BP public relations tweets about the oil spill in the Gulf? I've been peeking in on @BPGlobalPR for the past couple of days at the satirical, sardonic and seriously un-PC tweets the account's creator has been sending out. (Animal lovers be warned: this person apparently never asks "is this in bad taste?" before hitting 'enter.')
Take one recent tweet. "Due to public outcry," it read, "our 'Spill or Be Spilled' Flash game will be taken off our BP Kidz Klub website. 'Smack the greasy manatee' stays."
Or the latest one (so far) today: "The oil leak was caused by a natural gas explosion, or sea fart, which is now having silent but deadly consequences. #bpseafart"
Some say this is all in extremely poor taste. Others call it dark humor at its finest. Either way, it's definitely a good example of how easily a company's brand can get hijacked on social networks. The spoof account has more than 97,000 followers, compared to fewer than 9,000 for the real BP Twitter feed, @BP_America. The real BP, apparently choosing to ignore the spoof, is tweeting serious-sounding updates about the effort to stop the oil spill.
People have been speculating about the identity of the spoof's creator, with some guessing it's a professional comedy writer type. Whoever it is, I suppose it won't be long before he or she's signing a book deal, a la Fake Steve Jobs blogger Dan Lyons.
Just one more example of how, in the age of social media, anybody can grab the microphone, and God only knows what they'll choose to do with it.