Think Before You Tweet – Venting on Social Media Could Get You Fired
It seems unfair. What we do outside the office is our own business and employers shouldn’t be examining our personal lives. Unfortunately, no matter how strict your privacy settings, there is always a chance that your posts will reach unintended eyes. Our social media activity is not as private as we think and we should be on our best behavior to keep our jobs. Depending on what you post, employers have appropriate reasons to cut ties with anyone who breaches the company’s social media policy.
Apart from expecting us to perform at work, employers expect us to maintain a positive image of the company. According to CNET, Facebook alone had 1.06 billion monthly active users in December 2012. No organization wants negative remarks to reach even 1% of those 1 billion monthly users, which is 10 million users by the way.
You could say your company holds you accountable for anything you say on social media from the moment you’re hired. Let’s take Connor Riley’s case from 2009, for example. She had just received an offer from internet hardware giant, Cisco, 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.”
Being a company that revolves around the internet, Cisco quickly found the tweet and swiftly retracted the offer. She hadn’t even started and I’m sure Cisco found someone who would like the work.
Despite all this, we shouldn’t get paranoid and start frantically deleting our social media accounts. Companies aren’t hounding to fire someone for the odd mistake here and there. Different companies vary in leniency, but it’s probably best to post the finest examples of ourselves, unlike Mr. Weeks did. He was warned about posting several adverse remarks about his company on social media and “even made harassing and bullying Facebook comments against the colleague he suspected of reporting him.”
Top 5 Worst Things An Employee Can Do On Social Media
- Party pictures. If Mum wouldn’t be proud, nor would your employers. If you must, keep the pictures with the permanent marker faces on the computer, not online for employers or potential employers to see.
- Emotionally charged posts. Very few people, let alone your employers, are thrilled to see these.
- Negative remarks towards your company. Social media is not the place for these. Instead, bring your complaints to the human resources department. Better still, invest some time into finding a job you would like.
- Politically incorrect posts. Companies can potentially fire you without warning for this one as it reflects very badly on the company’s public image.
- Getting caught for skipping work. You could have pulled it off…if your boss wasn’t one of your Facebook friends and saw those beach pictures when you caught the summer flu.
Click here for more examples on how NOT to interact on social media when you’re angry about work.