Mark Grossman is a lawyer specializing in matters of technology. He work with technology companies, of course, but also with companies in a variety of industries who are working with technology. (Which is just about everyone these days …)
He recently discussed on his blog the legal risks you should be thinking about when it comes to social media. [level-members]
There are parts of the article that are much more applicable to enterprise-size businesses than our small businesses, but there are still a number of ideas worth focusing on.
First, and much to our delight, he very rightly points out that the legal risks that social media entail are a poor excuse for avoiding involvement. As he says, “You can choose to embrace it now or wait until your company is the last one in.” (It’s nice to see a lawyer whose idea of risk mitigation is something other than avoiding the “problem” entirely.)
He also points out that the applicable laws lag behind the reality, as is the case with almost every new technology. As a small business you probably don’t need to hire a specialist to do the kinds of basic updates and posts you’re likely to do – tastings, events, sales, etc.
But if you have any doubts about whether what you’re promoting, and how you’re promoting it, might be stepping on someone else’s legal toes, it makes sense to bring in a specialist rather than going to your everyday law firm or even relying on in-house counsel. These just aren’t questions they’re likely to be answering very frequently.
So, dive in, use common sense, set policies for anyone on your team who’s involved with social media, and consult the experts when you need them. [/level-members]