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Proceed with caution.

Whether white collar or blue collar, millennial or senior citizen, entrepreneur or consumer, we all have one thing in common--an obsession with social media--and it's revolutionizing the way we communicate. Businesses are attracted to social networking sites because it's a magnet for consumers.

Successfully leveraging new communication technology provides an opportunity to reach mass markets at a fraction of the cost of traditional media outlets and can generate buzz no advertising dollar could ever buy. Facebook announced it now has 500 million registered users.

As with any high-reward potential, though, significant risk can develop if an organization doesn't understand the pitfalls and carefully outline its social-media policy and procedures.

Case law regarding potential social-media liability continues to develop. Historically, traditional media outlets receive some leeway under the banner of journalism shield laws. Still, the availability of social media, for family-run local businesses to large Wall Street giants, is testing the boundaries of those laws.

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Title Annotation:SOCIAL MEDIA
Publication:Risk & Insurance
Date:Sep 15, 2010
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