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Do we need governance for social media?

Do we need governance for social media?

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Clearly, there's governance issues related to posting, information sharing, etc. when it comes to social media/Web 2.0 sites. But what about IT governance for social media--is it time to think about Web 2.0 IT governance issues?

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  • Oh, I don't know. The words Web 2.0 and governance don't sit well together, do they?

    I'm not sure that social media needs IT governance. Yes, there's risks to corporate engagement of social media but till this point, the risks are relatively peripheral and not tied specifically to IT but primarily to content liability.

    I also think the nature of the corporate entity comes into play. A publicly traded company may view this in more stringent light than a $20M, venture backed firm.

    Would love to hear other perspectives

  • The trouble with IT governance is that, when it comes to new stuff like Web 2.0 and social media, IT interprets 'governance' to mean 'prevention'.

    I'm not sure that IT is capable of the kind of supportive, light-touch governance that a successful social media initiative requires - which is probably why most of them try to slip unnoticed under IT's radar.

  • Phil--I'm not sure you're right about that. While many IT departments may interpret 'governance' to mean 'prevention', the really smart ones don't. Social media/Web 2.0 are all just different avenues, approaches and processes for communication, feedback and business opportunities. That's why I think the question is valid, and that IT organizations at least need to be thinking about it and prehaps creating a Web 2.0 governance or social media governance strategy.

    Also, I think there's at least two issues here--one is the area of governance for particpation in social media--you know, how do we track what employees are participating in and saying; and the second is governance of social media--if an organization is deploying social media or using social media mechanisms for business purposes, who can they be managed and governed effectively?

  • At first glance "governed social media" seems like an oxymoron. Governance is really about knowledge and control (though prevention plays a role). I think there is a place for governance when talking about Enterprises using social media. As David Kelly points out, the drivers for this would be tracking employee participation and managing social media resources within the enterprise. I doubt there will ever be a need/demand for governance of social media outside of the enterprise. While the enterprise environment should be controlled, the web shouldn't.

  • Governance may suggest control, but the other side of governance is that it's all about enabling business oversight of services and methodologies, and measuring progress. It's very important, then, that social media and Web 2.0 be part of a business strategy. It doesn't have to be a strictly confined strategy, but a vision and set of guidelines that help the business realize Web 2.0 opportunities. Otherwise, it becomes an exercise in chaotic inconsistency, and the business won't understand what value it's getting out of letting employees "Facebook" or "Twitter." (Then try to clamp down anyway.)

  • Phil--While IT governance for social media may require a different (i.e., supportive and light) approach, today’s IT organizations (and governance vendors!) should be able to provide Web 2.0-oriented governance solutions that support overall business governance concerns without completely killing social media initiatives.

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