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Shell’s “Web Communications”

Message to Simon Saville – Communication is a two-way process

I only recognised a handful of names in the list of the 300 Shell appointments leaked on this website. One of them was the chap announced as ” VP Web Communications” my old colleague Simon Saville. Now if my memory serves me right Simon once took over from me in a Shell International communications job – in the mid 1990s I think.

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Good that he is prospering still! I wonder if Simon remembers that in my handover I waffled on about how communications is a two-way process. Sure it’s about having nice stories and statements and announcements in the media – but it is also about having mechanisms whereby stakeholders can respond to these things.

So lets have a look at Shell’s “Web Communications” – much of it is elegant and informative. Some of it is pure propaganda and too much is bullshit. But that is just my opinion. So where on www.shell.com can I offer these opinions – where can I enter into a dialogue with Shell? Nowhere – at least not anywhere that I have found so far. There used to be a part of the site called “Tell Shell” and that was an actively used area. True some of the posts were vitriolic and even borderline libellous. But much of the content was fair comment and commentators, like me, took Shell at their word that they did welcome being “told”. I wonder if Simon Saville remembers what Shell said just a few years ago:

“Tell Shell” – tell us what you think. We really do want to hear your views – about Shell or our reports – about the issues we covered and anything we didn’t”. You can “Tell Shell” by joining the global debate at www.shell.com/tellshell”

Not any more you can’t!

Shell’s communications positioning:

If the truth isn’t potentially damaging tell the truth.

If the truth is partially damaging tell half truths.

If the truth is damaging – lie!

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