Online social media has transcended personal use and become a marketing mainstay for businesses across all industry sectors. Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter allow businesses real-time direct access to consumers, and provide consumers with a voice and an audience for their opinions about products and brands.
While the opportunities for business use of social media are apparent, some of the challenges may not be. For example, it can be difficult for a business to acquire a desired social media user name because, unlike identical trademarks that can co-exist as long as there is no likelihood of confusion, e.g., Delta airlines and Delta faucets, there can be only one @thegreatestlawyer on Twitter. A business also faces the challenge of monitoring and managing its online reputation, which is made increasingly difficult by the proliferation and importance of user reviews. Finally, as with cloud computing, users of social media are dependent upon a third party to protect their data, to provide a stable platform from which they can spread their messages and to allow continued access to the their sites.