Who guards the guards?

Social Media has become anti-social media. When the UK’s most senior spy cocks it up on Facebook, it was only a matter of time before the naivete many display about social media was called into question.

Now it seems both the legal profession and some ambulance chasers sense corporate fees. Such spoils would be very welcome for our litigious friends at ‘Big Legal’ whose earnings are treading water like a sleeping shark. Their learned advice may be well-meaning (publish only what you would be happy for your parents to see), but this changes the game completely. Their firms may reap what others sue for.

Lawyers see Social Media as tasty

Lawyers see Social Media as tasty

Being discrete and staying legal may be getting harder though. Some claim Facebook recently made it less-straightforward to protect parts of your privacy. The world’s largest social media site says it was just being more sociable (or was that fend off Twitter?). Either way, corporates and specifically IT departments have a key role in this debate.

A former colleague, now in a senior European B 2C marketing role, had to beg her IT department for Twitter access and was refused Facebook at her corporate desk. There is now a heated debate about a, presumably resource-hungry, SaaS graphical design application. If the head marketing honcha can’t get to these ‘tools’, how about the PR team, or product development – or even sales?

At least until someone owns the rules of engagement, this IT-led innovation risks being taken over by HR folks and lawyers. Depending on how we play it, we may never get to the Brave New World envisaged by Cisco’s Nick Earle and Andy Mulholland of Cap Gemini in their 2008 book ‘Mesh Collaboration’. The fun may be over. Anyone got any suggestions?

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