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Rotary: Social media and the law

April 25, 2012
By ANGELINA DICKSON - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedin are becoming the normal outlets for funneling information about businesses and services and with that comes ever-changing laws.

Social media is a blending of social interactions for the co-creation of value where information can be created and exchanged through user-generated content as opposed to the passive viewing of information.

Salene Mazur Kraemer, a business attorney, said if a business wants to survive, social media outlets cannot be ignored. She said perks for the professional include the ability to create a personal brand, build credibility, gain competitive edges and connect to clients.

Although there are many benefits to be a part of social media, Kraemer said there are some warnings professionals should be aware of as well. She said things posted on the Internet are permanent, viral and not private. She said a good rule to follow is thinking twice before posting it especially when an employer or employee posts personal ideas and thoughts through the professional account that could tarnish reputations or alienate clients.

"One of the things businesses are doing is setting up policies to address ground rules for different sites that are in compliance with applicable laws," she said. "You don't want to violate your employee's first amendment rights but you also don't want them to defame the business so setting up policies is the best way to handle that."

Kraemer talked about several of the outlets, answered questions and offered additional advice. She said there is a big shift between how people are communicating, and Twitter, according to some sources, will eventually take the place of email altogether and businesses are choosing to develop applications for smartphones as opposed to websites as well.

(Dickson can be contacted at

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