We've all seen fiasco after fiasco of corporations trying to calm the bad publicity frenzy after the fact. Many times, it is because of a customer service issue that could have been calmed way before the storm (I don't want to add fuel to the fire and encourage the behavior, so I won't name names, but you know who you are...)
I think social media is like a wide open ocean. You have areas of protected coral reefs, with communities of different kinds of fish (and of course predators lurking about!). These are like your protected social communities. but just like the Coast Guard tries to keep control of the open ocean, companies can take action and set up social media guidelines, or at least a set of ground rules for starters. (If you've got more thoughts on this analogy - I'd love your comments!)
Of the 22 Corporate social media guidelines/policies he shares, I thought I would share the US CoastGuard's with you, for its relevancy to my analogy of the open ocean:
US CoastGuard Social Media Policy - Part 1
US CoastGuard Social Media Policy - Part 2
Social media guidelines are important for not just those who are maintaining the brand image in social media from the company's perspective, but also for employees to know how they should conduct behavior, as well. EVERYONE is watching.