Doug Schumacher has a good piece on iMediaConnection that showcases how valuable social media can be. He wraps it in the context that social media is safer than you think. I am not so sure that safe is a word I would use for social media, although he does make a good point about it.
Social media provides your organization with the opportunity to engage people that are interested in your brand, your services, your products, and in what you do for your community. It can create a solid support system from your followers and fans, but these are people with opinions and ideas that might not necessarily mesh with yours. Doug writes from an advertising/marketing viewpoint, so perhaps this is where we view the meaning of “safe” differently.