Can Social Media Be Governed?

by Jay Deragon on 04/23/2012

“The more people speak the more some think speech needs to be governed”

Social media are fueling debates about how to control social media or one could say control the freedom of speech. People have been given the power of distributed and connected conversations through social technology. These social dynamics reveal new paradigms not previously considered by organizations, institutions and governments. With the exploding growth of social technology there is an increased attempt to govern the new paradigms.

Who Has The Right To Govern?

From  The Next Governance Frontier: Social Media – Forbes:  At the end of the day, companies have to ask, “can we afford to be social or can we afford not to be social?”  Clearly, social media has business benefits.  But, there are risks lurking in the shadows and no company wants to be caught unprepared should litigation arise.  Getting the policies and tactics right upfront will go a long way toward mitigating risk.  Any company engaging in social media should also be crafting a social media governance plan.  Companies need to decide if they want to monitor workers, how (ask for permission or just monitor any on-network activity) to monitor workers, and how to deal with publishers’ policies.

Everyone understands the risk of saying the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time. Speech is a powerful influence over people’s hearts and minds. Saying the wrong things or igniting people to gather together to say something can create a revolution or bring down entire governments and destroy politicians.

In a connected world people can now organize faster, unite with one voice seamlessly and move markets at the click of a mouse. This dynamic doesn’t happen as the result of governance by a formal organization rather it happens informally and is self governed by the crowds.

Today the choice is not about how organizations govern people rather it is about enabling people to govern self organization. There is a huge difference between the two. One comes from old organizational theories and the other comes from  wisdom about the human network.




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