Friday, July 29, 2011
Social Media: Friend or Foe?
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get one to 20 blast e-mails telling me how my business could really take off if only I hired someone to show me how to use Facebook and/or Twitter to grow my client base.
On the other hand, there’s hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear about a Tweet or Facebook incident that blows up in some organization’s face.
Symantec Corp. recently completed its 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll, and among the results they found many organizations had suffered through as many as nine “social media incidents,” in the preceding year. “Incidents” included such things as employees posting confidential company information on publicly accessible social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The report estimated 94 percent of those with “incidents” suffered negative results, such as damage to their reputation, data and revenue losses and loss of customer trust.
I am not a big fan of Facebook or Twitter because, no matter how effective they may be for your organization, there is an equal chance that critics or activists will over-run your Facebook site and turn it into a club to attack you or beat you to a figurative bloody pulp.
Last year Nestle had the distinction of being one of the first companies to have their Facebook site turned into a weapon, first by Greenpeace UK and then by other critics who took the Nestle logo and used it to poke fun and criticism at the company.
Apparently a Nestle lawyer took issue with that, and someone from Nestle posted a warning reminding Facebook visitors to be careful, because the Nestle logo — which many of them were defacing in their Facebook attacks — was a trademark.
CNet’s Caroline McCarthy called it “the first time that we've seen such a massive blow-up in the comments of a Facebook fan page.” And PRWeek observed the incident was “quickly becoming a social media crisis” for Nestle.
Now, if that is not enough to make you leery of using a Facebook site for your business or organization, there’s another reason.
Symantec is reminding us that if you get sued or otherwise involved in some kind of legal action connected to your Facebook page or Twitter account, you must have a system in place to be able to retrieve and store all that stuff, like you do e-mail and other digital data, and just like you should have been doing already with all your hard-copy letters, documents and records.