I laugh every time I see a headline with the words “Tweet” and “Fired”


New meaning to the concept of "fail whale"

Post for PR class, but this is something I’d talk about on here anyway. I even slipped in a little less-professional (judgmental) comments for this edition.

I’m both amused and disgusted at how people keep getting fired or sued for posting inoffensive content on Facebook and Twitter. Not to jinx myself, but I’ve never found it hard to maintain my online reputation through careful posting, distinguishing what is and isn’t appropriate to say. I use common sense and simply don’t post anything I think anyone would find offensive, or anything that could make me look bad.

I see these lists like “How to Clean up Your Facebook Page for Job Searching,” and I marvel at how people actually need to be told to “untag pictures of yourself engaging in illegal activities.”

But apparently it’s a problem: there’s countless stories of firings and suings that stemmed from Twitter. A couple quick examples: there’s the guy who voiced the Aflac duck who made insensitive remarks about Japan, the guy at Chrysler who mistakenly posted a tweet with an expletive (meant for his personal account), and the AP reporter who’s under fire for his defamatory tweet (covered in Rachel’s post from last week).

I say skip the services and the “how-to” lists and let people maintain their own (personal) reputations. If they can’t do a good job, they deserve the fall-out after a bad post. Like the Chrysler guy: his tweet had an f-word. Freedom of speech is great and all: sure people can say what they want, but here’s an idea: how about you don’t post expletives on your corporate or personal account! Problem solved!

However, in the business and PR world, I’d recommend training employees on how to use social media correctly. You can’t leave your company’s online reputation up to chance. And content that is even slightly offensive is more serious, simply because it’s posted on a business’ page rather than an individual’s page.

Since I’m not tweeting for a company and my athletic prowess has not yet propelled me to the list of most-followed athletes (Shaq, Lance Armstrong), I don’t think my tweets matter much either way. But that doesn’t stop me from putting my screenname on my resume – at least employers can see I’m familiar with the medium. I’m proud of my online reputation.

Follow me - click for link

There’s a screenshot of my Twitter page. I like to talk about school, running, competing as a college athlete, and what I’ve been cooking. Sometimes I even quote song lyrics and write those vague tweets alluding to my emotional condition!


2 thoughts on “I laugh every time I see a headline with the words “Tweet” and “Fired”

  1. beabee

    I think this might be an old person problem. I don’t know of any (otherwise reasonable) person our age who doesn’t understand this intuitively. I’m also seeing a backlash at this point to over-sharing, where people ask others to not tag them in photos or don’t have a vibrant personal online presence. It’s old school.

    An interesting secondary question to this is how to manage your children’s online presence — pictures of them on facebook or writing about them on your mommy blog before they can talk. It seems unfair to expose them before they can make any decisions about it. But it’s impossible to share much about your own life without them.

  2. Bryan

    Next Wednesday in one of my management classes we are having a “Digital Dirt” presentation. They have pictures in this presentation as recent as Spring Break. It should be interesting.


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