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20 October 2011


The strategic application of Web 2.0 in the mining industry [Mining Engineering]

The introduction of Web 2.0 platforms (also referred to as social media), with their architectures of participation, has ushered in a new era of technological interaction and information exchange that is changing the nature of corporate-community communications. Web 2.0 platforms give users the ability to generate data collaboratively, meaning that more stakeholders maintain the expectation of being able to contribute to online dialogue. In light of these changes, it is important for business to consider how social media can be used strategically to enhance stakeholder relationships and increase business efficiencies.

Case 3 – Civil society and social media

In addition to using social networking tools for mobilization, blogs, another social media tool, can also be used for raising awareness. A respondent from the blog RoyalDutchShellplc. com discussed how the site was set up to highlight ethical issues in the business management of Royal Dutch Shell pic, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. The respondent outlined how the campaign had grown from letter writing and leafleting, to blogging. The blog now hosts masses of information, including 24,000 corporate documents, which have been useful to other claimants working on cases against the company. The respondent indicated that a result of sharing these controversial documents has had an overall cost of billions of dollars in lost sales to the company (Mullard, 2010, interview 10003). (The blogger indicated that massive sales have been lost to the company as a result of exposure of information from the blog, yet the cost of maintaining the blog is only $120/month for the server; the technical developer now volunteers time as a result of having become engrossed in the issues after 10 years of involvement.)

The website was used by lawyers in the “Reserve Scandal” of 2004, where several attempts were raised to initiate class action against the company as a result of its misrepresentation of oil reserves to the Security and Equities Commission (Mullard, 2010, interview 10003). Maintaining a strong reputation by controlling messages and verifying information through an informant network are ways that the gripe site maintains credibility and continues to have an impact.

Social media enables powerful broadcasting and allows people to access persuasive perspectives and opinions from an array of actors. Building a community of interest that is dedicated to active participation requires transparent, focused objectives, as well as personal disclosure and authenticity to build trust. Civil society movements have best demonstrated the use of social media for mobilization and this represents a challenge that should not be overlooked by mining companies.

Copyright:(c) 2011 Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.

Source: Proquest LLC


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