Gap (new logo), Netflix (Qwickster!), Bank of America ($5 monthly fee), Verizon ($2 fee to pay online), HP (dropping PC business), GoDaddy (support of SOPA), and other companies announced potentially-unpopular positions on social media. The Internets blew up in their face and they reversed course.
In this way, social media is an ideal way to launch test balloons. Quietly announce a new position that may be unpopular, and see what happens. By crowdsoucing a response, companies know in advance whether it is worth it to drop the change.