Daniel Schwartz reported on his recent attendance at the 2010 Legal Tech Conference in New York. Finally, it seems businesses are realizing someone on the web is talking about them, and it may not be the media relations message they had in mind.

Several years ago while Walmart was using its cheerful elderly greeters in an ad campaign for their stores, an internal memo from Walmart top management was busy sending a very different message. The internal memo discussed trying to reduce health benefit costs by getting rid of older and sick employees. The contradiction caught on fire on the web. It was a disaster for Walmart.

Businesses can address social media messages with employees by adopting social media policies. As technology has evolved from pagers and cell phones to e-mail, and now Twitter & Facebook, personnel policies must also evolve.

It is not necessary for your business to redesign the wheel. It is necessary to draft a social media policy which captures the philosophy of your company, and the values of management. Matt Leonard blogged about, “Why employees need Social Media Guidelines,” and offered links to 22 useful social media resources including model policy examples. Start with a model policy and see what will work for your business.