Ever since I heard about Chevron’s big "Will You Join Us?" shtick, I’ve been meaning to look into it more closely — see if I can figure out whether it’s a genuine attempt to open a dialogue on our post-oil future or … a bushel of bullshit.

Joel Makower had the same idea. He says:

Chevron isn’t the first big oil company to commit glasnost through a campaign to position itself as a beacon of honesty and social concern. …

But such campaigns are risky. Shell, for one, seems to have stopped actively promoting its Tell Shell site — perhaps not liking much what people had to say. And BP’s ad campaign risks overreaching, since only about 1% of the company’s revenue comes from "beyond petroleum" products. For all the hype, it’s still overwhelmingly an oil company.

So I’ll watch ChevronTexaco’s current campaign with high interest to see where it goes — and how much change is apparent in the company’s actions, including its commitment to mitigating climate change. …

In the mean time, the company seems to have a pretty good job of talking the talk. Its Web site seems an honest and authentic assessment of today’s energy realities and is based on real facts, not just vague marketing platitudes.

I believe this is known in the biz as "guarded optimism." Seems appropriate.