by Michael O'Neill
August 15th, 2012

Social media risk is now a mainline risk according to US executives surveyed by Deloitte in a study with Forbes Insights. The research, Aftershock: Adjusting to the new world of Risk Management, was conducted in the spring. As described in their executive survey, social media is now among the traditional risks we often read about in the risk management field such as the global economic climate, regulatory changes and government intervention. Social media ranks fourth because it can act as an “accelerant” to all the other risks. Just give it some air and it spreads like wildfire. In fact, Deloitte refers to it as the “wildfire” effect because social media can push a company’s reputation into a tailspin. They might also call it the gas pedal effect!

Which risk sources will be the most important over the next three years?

Global economic environment                41%

Government spending/budget                32%

Regulatory changes                               30%

Social media                                           27%

Financial risk                                          27%

Source: Deloitte and Forbes Insights, 2012

Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross is chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick

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