BP Disaster Increases Blog Post Frequency, Negativity

July 27, 2010

Oil company British Petroleum (BP) was mentioned far more frequently, and negatively, in blog and other social media posts following its April 20, 2010 oil rig explosion and leak than before, according to Sysomos.

BP Starts Year on Right Foot
Between January 1 and April 20, 2010, BP had a largely positive image with bloggers and other social media users. BP was mentioned 92,905 times in blogs, 69,273 times in news items, and in 243,903 tweets and 202,697 message board postings.

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Combined, 78% of these social media mentions were favorable, with 37% positive and 41% neutral.

April 20 Begins Increase in Coverage, Negativity
From the initial explosion on April 20, 2010 through the date it was capped (at least for the time being) on July 15, 2010, the amount of social media chatter about BP dramatically increased, as did the negative overtone to that chatter.

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In the course of this period there were around 602,000 blog posts, 860,000 forum messages and 4.6 million tweets. This time period also saw BP’s favorable sentiment percentage drop more than 20%. The most drastic change, however, came from the negative sentiment around BP rising from 22% to 46%.

Capping Leak Produces Slight Bump in Positive Chatter
In the first week the leak was capped (July 15-22), social media discussion about it did not subside. During that week, there were more than 55,000 blog posts, 42,000 forum mentions and almost 528,000 tweets about BP.

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Most interesting is that there were more tweets about the company in this last week than there were in the first four months of the year. Also, despite the worst being over (the actual leaking), the overall sentiment of BP has not changed much. The overall sentiment rating still stands at 54% favorable. However, while negative sentiment has not gone down, there has been a slight rise in positive sentiment from 16% to 19%.

Americans Get News on Multiple Platforms
The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, according to data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Americans get their news from a combination of on- and offline sources, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

Forty-six percent of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day.

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