Increasing amounts of communications by and relating to companies are taking place through social media. Broadly defined, social media refers to forms of electronic communication through which users share information, ideas and other content (using text, audio, video and images). This includes not only platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but also various blogs, discussion forums and company websites. As with any form of communication, social media presents both strategic opportunities and risks for companies. Social media also poses special challenges due to:
- The speed with which social media can disseminate a message.
- The tendency for social media to be treated as an informal means of communication.
- The difficulty in maintaining a distinct audience for a particular message, for example as between customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, regulators and others.
My recent column published by the Practical Law Company, which can be found here, explores what boards need to know about social media from a number of different perspectives.