BP Oil Spills Into Your Firefox Web Browser

June 28, 2010

11:44 am

As we all know, the BP Oil Spill has been gushing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20th, and with no real end in sight it is a sad state of affairs. There have been a number of efforts to stop it as well as various organizations rallying support to try and make a difference.

A few examples:

  • the TEDxOilSpill conference (happening today in DC) emerged to offer a day-long discussion about the spill.
  • this weekend The Gulf Call for Sacred Intentions which included Deepak Chopra among others was an effort to help clean up the Gulf via collective intentions.
  • this morning our friends Geoff Livingston (co-founder, Zoetica) and Jill Foster (Live Your Talk) began their Citizen Effect Gulf Mission fact finding effort by heading right into the eye of the storm – Grand Isle – with a goal to find local charities to pair with a national fundraising drive and help fishermen to find a sustainable, environmentally friendly future— one that will accurately address the long-term economic, environmental, cultural effects of the disaster.
  • others like Kris Krug are using their skills to document the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico so that audiences like those at the TEDxOilSpill conference can see first hand (beyond what large news organizations are reporting) what is happening to the region and its community.

Jess3 a DC area creative agency took a different approach as they created a digital reminder brought to life in the Firefox Web browser call the BP Oil Spill Firefox Plug-in. This creative approach could help raise awareness of the spill and keep people unitedly focused on the issue. We asked Jess3 founder Jesse Thomas a few questions about the new BP Oil Spill Firefox Plug-in.

What motivated you to take action to create the BP Oil Spill Firefox plug-in?
On Facebook I saw Geoff Livingston say something about how no one online is doing anything to support this horrific disaster. It occurred to me that a campaign similar to the green Iran protest could work. I was thinking we would make a site that helped people turn their avatars greyscale, and perhaps add some oil drips to the photo. Then from there everyone at JESS3 brainstormed back and forth. We thought we could put together a variety of things on a mini-site to help people show their support for this cause. In a crisis that is removed geographically, its easy for people to do nothing. Some people give money, but for the most part people do nothing. You have people that are very upset and want to do something, they might not want to give money, but they will retweet something, or have a look at a site or some art that was put together to draw attention to the crisis. We wanted to take advantage of people’s free time.

What do you hope to gain by the creation of the BP Oil Spill Firefox plug-in?
The cool thing about a browser plugin based protest like this is, you never forget. I think it’s interesting to think about how quickly people forget about things like this, and it is a nice way to force yourself to relate this spill and others like it to these names. Its not just about BP, we have expanded the list to include all other bad brands and related terms.

Is this plug-in your own project or something that someone hired you to do?
I had this idea to make a plugin that turns photos relating to the oil spill greyscale, and adds oil drips underneath, and the words would be blacked out and drips coming from them. I got the idea because one of our developers Greg Leuch had created the Shaved Justin Bieber firefox plugin that blocks out mentions of Justin the month before. It had been very popular the weeks preceding Geoff’s comment so it was fresh on my mind.

What do you hope the response or reaction to the plugin to be?
I hoped it would go viral, that was the idea. We thought it would be something that people would share and hopefully think it was well done. I thought it might potentially be rude or insulting [to BP].

Do you have any future plans for the plug-in other than a quick jab at BP?
We are adding refinements and support for all the major browsers. Features will include blacking out all official BP related site, leaving just the text showing in an eery white. The greyscale photos with oil dripping down.

And then we are also thinking about other projects like this. We are working on a blood drips plug-in variation of this.

Download the BP Oil Spill Browser Plug-in

BP Black Oil Spill Plugin on Google Search Results

Black Oil Spill Plug-in on Google Search Results

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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