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In the October 2010 issue of Corporate Counsel, we provided five tips that corporations should follow to avoid “E Trouble,” a term we coined to refer to the devastating impact emails and electronically stored information (ESI) can have in litigation. With social media use exploding nationwide, the E-Trouble threat has expanded to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, and Foursquare, which all allow users to create profiles and “connect” with others to meet new people; share ideas, news, entertainment, personal information, photographs, and videos; and engage in networking. An August 2011 Nielsen Company study found that Americans spend nearly a quarter of their online time on social networking sites and blogs, a 43 percent increase from the previous year. Since social media sites have become increasingly popular for marketing and business purposes, the risk of E-Trouble has increased, and managing that risk is mission-critical for corporations operating in today’s online world. New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s fall from grace this past summer was caused by his misuse of social media. Weiner’s case may be extreme—he was forced to resign over a scandal begun by a Twitter post—but the case should serve as a warning: online activities do not remain “private” and can be very damaging. Even well-educated users exercise poor judgment while utilizing social media sites. Consider these real-life examples:

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