Boards should have a Social Media policy for themselves. As we learned in the Rock Center survey on social media (see Blog: Boards & Social Media Part 1), some Directors use social media in the personal and business context, others only in the personal context, others not at all. You should have guidelines in place both for the protection of the Company, but also for the protection of the Directors. Because Social Media is relatively new to the world of business (& Boards in particular), Boards have not integrated rules around usage of social media into their governance rules or ethics rules. A Social Media policy can be a ‘stand alone’ policy or covered within Boards’ other governance & ethics rules. Regardless of how it is documented, it should be documented and the Directors versed in the rules. As most of us know too well from experience, it is far to easy these days to type something in a moment of anger or without properly proofreading, and with a too quickly push of a button send an email out that is embarrassing, regretful or even damning. And that is just with email, with FB, LI and Twitter, a mistaken tap of a button could have that embarrassing or incorrect statement broadcast to thousands of people (clients, customers, shareholders, news media, employees, etc…) and cause havoc, loss of reputation and potential liability. Don’t be that Director or that Company; get the rules in place upfront and make sure the Directors stay abreast of the developing social media platforms and technology.
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