How can companies thrive on social media?

We are particularly interested in hearing from communications professionals and bloggers, but as social media touches all of our lives we recognise that everybody's views are valuable.

Should companies fear social media, or embrace it?  And how should companies react when faced with a social media storm? 

If companies' behaviour is driven by a fear of a social media backlash then what are the implications for customers and for society at large? 

Are there examples of social media being used for sensible debate or is it always hijacked by activists?  How can acceptable online behaviour be encouraged or enforced? 

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  • Social media is providing an increasingly effective challenge to corporate behaviour (as seen recently with Lego halting its promotional campaigns with the Daily Mail following an online campaign). A key focus of the proposed Corporate Governance Reforms is stakeholder engagement and companies are devoting a growing amount of energy in communicating with a wide range of stakeholders, including customers, via social media and as a result are quickly aware of any social criticism of their behaviour. This is having a significant impact on their accountability and is a trend that is likely to intensify.
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