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Gulf Oil Disaster: Oil Outrage Online – By the Numbers (and my thoughts)

July 20, 2010

I found this article by Catherine Chomiak, NBC News, last night.  This is a great article, as it gives the websites and numbers of all online efforts that focus on the Gulf Oil Disaster.  A great, albeit mind-full, writing.  I’ve linked all of the sites that are given in the article.

As the world now knows, A Whale oil skimmer was given the order to go back home — negating the thought that largest is always best. 

The world waits on the oil well cap containment, as well as the speculation that there are seeping issues.  Now there are scrambles to begin assessing the amount of oil that has been spilled to compute the amount of fines for BP’s violation of the Clean Water Act which can be up to $4,300 per barrel of oil released if the company is found negligent in causing the disaster.  I enjoyed (sarcasm) the following excerpt from CNNMoney.com release:   

“I am concerned that without such a monitored collection effort we may never be able to provide a definitive answer to the question of how much oil has actually been released,” said Markey, a vocal critic of BP’s response to the spill, in a statement.

Whatever number is ultimately arrived at, others say it’s unlikely BP will pay anything close to $18 billion.

Dick Watt, a Houston-based oil and gas attorney, said $18 billion might be possible in theory but not practice, given the extent politics will play into the decision. Ultimately, it will be a judge or jury that decides how much BP must pay, not the U.S. government.

“The fines will be very large,” said Watt, “but nowhere near that range.”

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By the numbers: Oil outrage online

Catherine Chomiak, NBC News

— From the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command Ongoing Response statistics (last updated July 18, 2010)

• More than 6,490 vessels are currently responding on site
• More than 3.4 million feet of containment boom and 7.2 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 852,000 feet of containment boom and 3 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
• More than 34.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
• Approximately 1.82 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 771,000 sub-sea. Approximately 574,000 gallons are available.
• Approximately 615 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 352 miles in Louisiana, 112 miles in Mississippi, 69 miles in Alabama, and 82 miles in Florida.
• Approximately 83,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns.

Despite the abundance of information provided by the Deepwater Horizon Response team, as the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico surpasses three months without a permanent solution, public anger against BP continues to overflow online. Web sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr have become active platforms for people to express their frustration with the oil giant and the current environmental crisis.

The “flow rate” of rising anger can be measured online almost as precisely as the gushing oil that incited it on: “Boycott BP.”   The site, one of more than 500 Facebook pages related to the oil disaster, is dedicated to boycotting “BP stations until the spill is cleaned up,” and has 827,164 fans and counting. There are at least 164,000 YouTube videos capturing various protests; more than 36,606 Flickr photos related to the spill; and approximately 78 new tweets per minute continue to keep the oil spill ranking among Twitter’s top trending topics.

A search for “BP” on YouTube typically yields clips like one posted by someone going by the name “annebonnylives” of a protest outside a local BP station. “The Raging Grannies,” a group of elderly activists, have been staging their singing protests against Halliburton and BP in southern Florida.

Their song “BP’s Friggin’ Drillin’ Rigs,” which is sung to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” recommends the two companies “take your friggin’ drillin’ rigs ‘cause we don’t want your oil! / Halliburton and BP – you suck!” The video has gone viral, with more than 50,516 views.

Another Floridian, Stan Morton, is “real mad” at BP— so mad, in fact, that he has posted 49 videos, all critical of BP. In one five-minute video, he rants against the company and spills his yard debris in the parking lot of a BP gas station.

There are at least 36,606 photos associated with the Gulf of Mexico disaster on Flickr. User Starflyer2012, posted 88 photos from a May 28th protest at a Manhattan BP station, where hundreds of activists showed up looking as if they were covered in oil.

In addition to posting protest pictures, many people online have doctored BP’s green and yellow logo to reflect the leak. Flickr member BWJ, combined BP’s logo with Sherwin Williams’ to “cover the earth” with black paint. Edited logos, like BWJ’s, can even be submitted in a contest sponsored by Greenpeace, who used Flickr to create a “Behind the Logo group.”   There have been 1,111 entries so far.

To combat the growing body of negative content online, BP’s own social media team has ramped up their online presence and is in the process of migrating their DeepwaterHorizonresponse.com site to RestoreTheGulf.gov

They have set up their own accounts and pages on YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, where BP’s Twitter handle BP_America  has more than 18,338 followers. The company has also purchased search terms on Google and Yahoo, so their sponsored pages are at the top of the results.

BP’s YouTube channel includes a video gallery of clips about the company’s oil spill cleanup efforts, the release of clean, oil-free birds and presentations by BP officials about ongoing strategies to contain and clean up the crude.

As of Monday, July 19, the Making it Right commercial has been viewed 319, 482 times.

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