Lawsuits and Social Media

I had a conversation the other day with an acquaintance who is the sales director for a software company. They create and manage social media programs for companies and organizations. I was commenting on the lack of progress Canadian firms are experiencing when it comes to implementing social media in the workplace. Businesses claim to want to communicate directly with employees and customers, but few actually follow through. Why? "Lawsuits and corporate policies", was the sales director's response.

When it comes to social media businesses are concerned about their lack of control in the process, perceived or otherwise. Employees could say something that may offend a consumer / client. Customers may do the same to the company or its employees. Even perceived offsets could lead to potential lawsuits, and those can be expensive and time consuming, as well as a public relations nightmare.

Corporate policies can also hinder the development of social media at a business. The sales director illustrated this problem with an example that he experienced. A large accounting firm was interested in establishing a social media network for employees and clients. However, despite their willingness to proceed with the implementation, antiquated corporate policies prevented them from doing so. To initiate social media mean restructuring some of the restrictive policies and that could take months, if not years, to complete. The concept died on the boardroom table.

I believe there are plausible solutions to these corporate concerns / roadblocks, but I would like to hear your comments, or opinions, from both sides of the US – Canada border.

Let me know what you think!

Don O'Connor