Friday, June 10, 2011

Is What I had for Lunch on Thursday a Corporate Record?

Today more and more companies are asking their employees to get out there and start swimming in the streams of social media. Companies are asking their employers to take part in social media forums such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn to help build better connections with both their peers and customers. Here are just a few of the questions that typically follow after hearing this request:

What am I suppose to talk about?
Do I only talk about the company?
Do I need to create a new account that is separate from my existing personal account?
Can I still Tweet about what I am having for lunch? (OK, maybe not..but had to throw it in there)

These are all great questions and the answers should be captured by your corporate social media policies.

Social Media creates new and exciting opportunities for an organization such as increased engagement with employees and new channels of conversation with customers; but it can also create equivalent risks and obligations. The key is to capture this balance between risk and reward.

Before a company embarks on having their employees dive into these social media streams it is crucial that your employees clearly understand the risks and how they can help mitigate them. Employee education and awareness on social media policies are a must.

I wanted to share with you an excerpt from an article I read recently titled; From 'friend request' to discovery request: Issues raised by business use of social media. This was written by Matthew A. Cordell and Barry P. Harris, IV, Ward and Smith, P.A. The full article can be found here.

“In creating social media policies, businesses must understand what can be implemented and enforced; the policies will form a baseline in an opponent's or court's analysis of what can or should be produced in discovery.”

“Social media can open new doors, but it also presents new challenges. All businesses participating in social media should adopt and implement policies governing its use by employees, and must be prepared to preserve relevant social media data as soon as it becomes reasonably apparent that litigation or an investigation is on the horizon.”

So my advice is to dive in, for the rewards will quickly outweigh the risks!

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