The High Price of Free Social Networking

The High Price of Free Social Networking

By: Nancy Flynn

Examples are abundant of organizations exposed to legal liability via social media, even if they don't have a social media presence. It's important to make sure you establish a policy for employee behavior.

Does your organization have a social media presence? Far from an emerging technology that doesn't yet warrant time, attention, or IT dollars, social networking is changing the shape of business communications. Consider these statistics:

  • By 2014, social media will replace email as the primary form of business communication for 20 percent of users, according to Gartner.
  • According to the Human Capital Institute, 49 percent of organizations currently use in-house applications and public sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Ten percent of businesses in 2009 tweeted marketing and communications messages, according to research from the American Management Association and ePolicy Institute.

Social media facilitates fast, free, and friendly conversations with customers, prospects, and employees. Unfortunately, "free" networking can come at a steep price. Like email, social media is fraught with potentially costly risks, including litigation, regulatory violations, mismanaged business records, public-relations nightmares, and security breaches. Consider these two real-life social media disasters:...