For many businesses, the use of social media is a necessity. FaceBook, Twitter, Blogs, and YouTube are marketing vehicles that can help campaigns go viral at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. LinkedIn is a networking tool that can allow workers to find and connect with new business partners and customers. Simply put, businesses cannot afford not to be social. However, companies that dive into social media without the right policies and solutions to govern usage will encounter information governance and eDiscovery nightmares down the road.
This scenario has played out time and time again, most recently with email in mid 1990s. Originally, email was a tool reserved only for the highest level executives in a company. But, it quickly rolled out to the masses and became the dominant communication tool of the 2000s.
Email proved to be beneficial to businesses by easing and speeding collaboration. But, email also created costly nightmares in the form of reactive eDiscovery. With this new form of collaboration came new forms of data types and metadata types and the compression of mass amounts of email into personal archives (e.g. PSTs) that required expensive processing when litigation arose. Email, and most electronically stored information (ESI), was still fairly new, so companies could not forsee eDiscovery challenges associated with the massive volume of email coming. Who could have known how expensive it would be to process Terabytes of email only to find that a small percentage was even relevant to the case at hand? In the social media realm, however, companies can not hide behind ignorance. Instead, they can get ahead of social media by putting in place governance policies, processes, and tools to ensure that the email history lesson informs these new methods of collaboration.
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By: Barry Murphy