BEST OF THE BLOGS: Are social media’s Wild West days coming to an end?

That Facebook now has more than one billion users worldwide is testament to its reach and power in the age of social media.

Of course, with power comes responsibility – at least this used to be the case. But social networking sites have grown up more or less as regulatory orphans, often allowed to run free and cause mayhem with little interference or oversight from government or courts.

This might be starting to change.

In her Fast Lane blog today, SmartCompany deputy editor Cara Waters highlights a case from New Zealand which has prompted that country’s advertising standards body to give business, and especially SMEs, some concrete guidelines on their social and legal responsibilities as social media participants and publishers.

Everyone has read about the benefits of using social media but at the same time it seems that every week brings a new social media fail… The problem is that the laws on social media in Australia are not very clear… Enter New Zealand.

With social media becoming such a business staple for marketing – and possibly very soon sales as well – the time has come for Australia’s relevant bodies to follow New Zealand’s lead.

Think before you post

Continuing the Facebook theme, Paul Wallbank looks at the serious issue of what Facebook administrators might post without properly consulting those who may be included in the posting.

A client of mine once had an angry worker scream at him when she found out he’d posted photographs of all his staff on the company’s website.

“My ex is a psycho, he doesn’t know where I live or work. If he finds this, he might come around here and kill us all,” she cried.

The photos came down immediately and Kevin made sure he got explicit consent before he posted any details of his staff onto the website.

Many of us fail to recognise that social media is just that – social. And in the midst of doing our work in perhaps updating a company website or Facebook page, we might not consider the ugly reality that one of our colleagues has an AVO (apprehended violence order) out on an ex-partner.

But as Cara Waters also noted, the power of social publishing has brought with it a new set of responsibilities for businesses.

Are you wearing your black hat or white hat today?

Our tech blogger stable is positively brimming with great stuff at the moment, with the likes of Fi Bendall stirring the advertising industry pot, David Hancock eliciting comments both pro and con about the NBN, and David Markus asking questions about the future of work in the IT industry.

We’re very happy to have Chris Stevens pitching in this week too, with a detailed look at the rise of social media and what it means to SEO and Google rankings.”> (This is the customer’s logo, set at 150px x 150px and shows up next to the post.)

<meta property=”og:title” content=”Self Contained Accommodation | Sunshine Coast “> (The title becomes anchor text to the page and if you like, can be taken from the Page Title Tag or you can specify something else.)

No, that’s not a mistake. Stevens does go into quite some detail with his blogs but it’s not all code gobbledygook. In fact, Stevens annotates (conveniently colour-coded on his blog) and explains the code in such a way that even code illiterates are bound to learn a thing or two about the mysterious art of SEO and optimisation.

Couple Stevens’ post with Jim Stewart’s straight-talking take on “negative SEO” and then read Patrick Stafford’s feature on questionable SEO techniques and you should have all your ranking matters covered – at least until Google changes its algorithm once again.


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