It's easy to conclude that emerging social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook make it easier for companies to connect more closely with stakeholders. These fast-evolving tools both accelerate and enrich the communication process, which on the surface seems to be an absolute slam dunk for most businesses.
But just because you can go fast doesn't mean you should. All that social media goodness comes with a cost, one that can quickly and permanently threaten the security of your brand.
Largely thanks to the ubiquitous penetration of the commercial Internet, we've experienced nothing short of a revolution during the past 15 years or so in how we communicate with large audiences. Once upon a not-so-long-ago time, if you wanted everyone to get the message, you either bought advertising in a newspaper or sent out a press release and waited for reporters to call. You also could send out fliers, do a mailing or even put up a billboard. The process was complex, time-consuming and expensive.
Today, one message on Twitter can be sent to hundreds, thousands or more recipients in less time than it takes to read this sentence. Facebook fan pages attract massive audiences, and RSS feeds pump out updated content to engaged followers wherever they may be. Forget press releases and conventional advertising: Today's tools of mass communication are inexpensive, fast and available to everyone.
That's the problem.
The appeal of social media tools – they're largely free and frighteningly easy to use – makes them potentially…
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