Why The Board Of Directors Needs To Get Up To Speed On Social Networking

by Tom Johansmeyer for Social Times, February 22nd, 2011.

Social media tends to be popular in the marketing department, and other groups – from customer service to human resources –are starting to see the value of tools like Facebook and Twitter. Yet, and this is consistent with my corporate blogging and social media marketing experience, the upper echelons of Corporate America are reluctant to take the plunge. Corporate governance magazine Corporate Secretary reports, “Corporate secretaries, public company board members and in-house counsel are notoriously reluctant to make use of social media and technology in general.”

According to Corporate Secretary, two recent events have made the fears of corporate governance and legal professionals tangible. Let’s take a look at them:

1. NASDAQ: Corporate Secretary calls this the “most publicized of the boardroom news stories.” In this case, hackers have been hitting the exchange’s communication service for more than a year. The “Directors Desk” service is said to have been the target, with the alleged hopes of gaining access to information to use for insider trading.

2. Microsoft: last month, Microsoft’s earnings were accidentally disclosed more than an hour ahead of schedule, according to Corporate Secretary. Once it was picked up via a URL thought to be secret, word got out, and the news eventually wound up on StockTwits.

So, what’s the end game? Should boards of directors, C-suite executives and compliance and governance folks avoid the use of social media … and demand that encourage their employees to do the same? Not so fast! Corporate Secretary suggests, “What does all this mean? That directors and officers shouldn’t be thinking twice about whether to use the web, but about how to use it.”(continue reading… )



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