I’ve been online since the early days of CompuServe—roughly 1985 or 30-plus years. Its given me a real appreciation for the many stages of online life.
At first it was a curiosity. Then, as people began to understand its potential, it became a “you won’t believe what this can do,” kind of thing. Next was the wild west phase—when everyone was experiencing the newness of it all—experimenting and, occassionally, shooting themselves in the foot.
In the last decade or so we’ve seen the emergence of the establishment: The ecommerce, communications, and information sharing of the big corporations, institutions, and government entities as they attempt to claim a digital presence equal to their conventional presence.
Alas, with the advent of that mainstream participation comes an increasingly complex legal structure. To that end, I recently stumbled on the Socially Aware Blog, a site published by the international law firm Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) under the tag line: The Law and Business of Social Media.
As they explain it:
“Social media sites are transforming not only the daily lives of consumers, but also how companies interact with consumers. Here at Morrison & Foerster, across all of our practice groups, we are seeing complex, cutting-edge legal issues arising out of social media. As with the Internet boom during the mid-to-late 1990s, social media is generating new legal questions at a far faster pace than the law’s ability to provide answers to such questions. In an effort to stay on top of these emerging issues, and to keep our clients and friends informed of new developments, Morrison & Foerster publishes this blog devoted to the law and business of social media.”
As marketers and designers, we too must wend our way through the legal maze. Here’s hoping this introduction to those issues associated with social media, will help you identify some of the more obvious issues before they bite.
Remember Compuserve? Here’s an example of just how far we’ve come since just 1995.
The illustration at the top used with the permission of Morrison & Foerster.