Social media tools have enabled organization to reach audiences and communicate on ways that have revolutionized marketing and strategy. Yet the viral nature of the Internet can sometimes be a medium that can back fire when it comes to containing bags news. As a general rule organizations that approach these tools the same way that project managers approach risk will likely be better positioned to deal with the good along with the bad

One thing though that has always surprised me is people’s willingness to share information via electronic media that they would never do in the physical world. This is perhaps why it is so powerful to conduct background checks using social media tools.

I guess it should not be surprising though that often individuals do not put much thought into certain actions or activities. For example, a colleague shared that he was amused by an HR professional commenting that it was unusual for a candidate to have all excellent references during reference checks of potential candidates. The assumption that we make is that when we ask candidates to provide references we expect them to list trusted sources, or at least people whom they think will offer a good reference. Instead, these situations offer a greater venue for honest feedback than one expects.

The same can be true of digital media. We’ve all heard of candidates who have lost job opportunities or students who lost their enrollment space in college because of online presence. The key in my opinion is to apply an extra measure of vigilance in managing these activities.