Think Before You Tweet: Don't Let Twitter Cost You Your Job
Why bother getting fired over Facebook when you can lose your job on Twitter in 140 characters or less? Twitter can streamline your humiliation and cost you your job in record time. Just ask Gene Morphis, former chief financial officer of fashion retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp. He was fired on Monday after he “improperly communicated company information through social media.”
For instance, in March he tweeted, "Dinner w/Board tonite. Used to be fun. Now one must be on guard every second." The following day, he posted "Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board." In light of this recent fallout, here are a few reminders to keep in mind before you tweet.
- Don’t tweet about potential employers – A young woman had an offer from Cisco on the table when she tweeted, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Not long after that, Tim Levad, a Cisco employee, responded, “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.” Apparently she forgot the cardinal rule of social media: never post anything you wouldn’t want your mom, your spouse or your boss to hear.
- Make sure you’re tweeting from the right account – If you tweet for your organization and have a personal Twitter account as well, make sure you don’t make the same mistake Scott Bartosiewicz made. He was the former social media strategist for New Media Strategies before he mistakenly used a four letter word on one of his client's Twitter accounts. He thought he was signed into his personal account when he tweeted, “"I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive] drive.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t signed into his personal account but the corporate account for Chrysler. Bartosiewicz was fired and Chrysler didn't renew its contract with New Media Strategies.
- Keep your opinions on controversial topics to yourself – Toronto-based sportscaster Damian Goddard was fired for tweeting his opinion on same-sex marriage. He tweeted his support for Todd Reynolds, a hockey agent who criticized a player for supporting the cause. Tweeted Goddard, “I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage." Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but social media isn’t always the place to air it, especially if you’re a representative of a company or organization.
- Racist comments are NEVER okay - Former MLB pitcher Mike Bacsik was fired from his job as a radio producer after tweeting some racially-loaded comments during an NBA game. His team didn’t do well and he had some pretty offensive things to say afterword. Never forget that once you hit that “Tweet” button it’s gone forever. Deleting the tweet doesn’t make it go away, and comments like that can hurt you for years after you tweet it.
- Don’t post sensitive information - Nicole Crowther, a reoccurring extra on the popular television show Glee, was fired after she tweeted plot spoilers she heard on set. It didn’t take long for the show’s producer to respond, "Hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment." While most of us aren’t going to hear spoilers on Hollywood sets, many of us are privy to confidential company information, and that information has no place on the internet. This could not only lead to termination, but expensive and damaging lawsuits.
The bottom-line is the internet is not your best friend. Everyone has momentary lapses in judgment that we wish we could take back, but if you post it on Twitter, you can’t. If you’re having a “I hate my boss” moment, have it away from your keyboard. Before you punch out an angry tweet in the heat of the moment, remember that your boss knows how to use the internet, too.
What else should you consider before you tweet? Have you seen or heard about other social media blunders? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments section below.
Read: 40 Social Media Landmines for HR Professionals to Avoid.
Read: Fired Over Facebook