Social media risks

That's the title of my Slaw post for today.   It reads as follows. I'm on a panel tonight at the Ivey Business School talking about trends and opportunities in social media.  I'll be talking about legal and privacy issues.

Some of the risks that come with social media arise from its newness.   There seems to be two opposing (and apparently inconsistent) factors at play whenever anything new arises. 

First, when something new comes along, people often don't put it in the proper context, and forget all the old rules.  For example, people might make a comment on a blog or facebook that reveals something confidential, even though that same person would never have revealed that in a letter or email.

Second, humans have flawed risk perceptions.  We tend to underestimate the risks of things we are familiar with, and overestimate the risks of things we are not familiar with.  That leads us to be concerned about risks of something new, even if those risks are similar to, or less than, things we are used to.  This leads to the "lets just shut it down" reaction where employers simply block access to things.

These factors lead to some bad decisions on both ends, but also fosters debate and discussion over the issues that tend to sort things out over time.