Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2013-02-20 04:00:26Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Information Governance (IG) was much simpler when information existed in paper form.  Important documents were classified as records and sent to a central location to be filed and stored.  That central information store was the go-to source for information when litigation or regulatory requests arose.  There was a certain comfort in having that central control over information.  Today, however, times have changed and that comfort level has been destroyed.

In the digital age, companies have a hard time managing distributed information assets and the challenges continue to mount.  More and more information is stored outside of companies’ safe, central control – information lives out on the endpoints, sometimes outside the four walls of an organization.  Social media presents challenges to companies because of the lack of direct control over the content.  The obvious answer may be to block access to social media in the workplace, but that is not always feasible (especially outside of regulated industries).

More and more cases include social media, and case law is getting very clear – social media is discoverable.  Our survey data shows that social media is of great concern to a majority of eDiscovery professionals.  The rise in social media information requests will be important in 2013 because the ability of organizations to preserve, collect, and review social media still lags.  There are good tools for social media collection and preservation, but most eDiscovery professionals are just learning of these tools and few have experience with them.  In 2013, expect a few leaders to emerge from the field of about thirty vendors that offer social media collection and preservation.  As it is already, social media discovery is gaining mindshare.

Social Media Governance Gaining Mindshare

Social Media Governance Gaining Mindshare

Social Media Governance is an emerging practice.  The fact is, there are many types of social media data – FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare.  All publishers have content and metadata that could be valuable to litigation or investigations.  While companies might like to argue that the data is out of scope for eDiscovery because the publishers physically hold the data, a plethora of third-party tools for collecting and preserving social media content now exist.  Companies will be hard pressed to hide behind an “undue burden” argument for not managing and collecting social media.

At eDJ, we plan to cover this area extensively.  In fact, we plan to broaden the topic and look at eDiscovery as it relates to more “social” forms of digital information. Email has long been a primary target of eDiscovery because so much communication travels through email.  Increasingly, though, people use more types of “social” interactions including instant messaging (IM) and both internal (e.g. Jive) and external (e.g. FaceBook, Twitter) social media.   The focus on external social media has been more newsworthy to date, but we believe that all sorts of collaboration methods that allow socialization of information will become very important to eDiscovery.  Look for a survey on the topic soon.  And, as always, please do comment on the article with any questions or debate.

eDiscoveryJournal Contributor and eDJ Group Lead Analyst – Barry Murphy

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