Social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have proven to be amazing tools that are either SEO friendly or hold immense networking capabilities. Somewhat recently, progressive minded companies have embraced these programs as a means for enhancing their market position and to gain greater Google penetration. The benefits to the company are obvious in terms of bringing their brand to a wider audience.
However, there are risks to employees or job-seekers. Most companies initially stayed away from reaching out to social networking sites which gave users of the these pages an impression of privacy. Now users must be aware of what they are posting on the internet under their public profiles.
Earlier this year, a teen was fired from her job for posting on her facebook account that her job was 'boring.' In another example, a young account manager was fired for calling in sick so she could go surfing. The employee's friend later posted pictures in a comment that said 'we should call in sick more often.' When her employer discovered the comment, she was promptly terminated.
A higher profile example is the Ketchum public relations representative, who posted a message on Twitter (known as a tweet) sharing his feelings about the city of Memphis (home of their client, FedEx) that read:
You can read the entire response from Fed Ex here .
Considering that the response ends with
"Additionally Mr. Andrews, with all due respect, to continue the context of your post; true confession: many of my peers and I don’t see much relevance between your presentation this morning and the work we do in Employee Communications."
I think it is safe to assume that this communication has strained relations between the two companies.
Most recently, a University of California graduate student interviewed with Cisco Systems and was offered a position with the company. Sometime later, that person decided to send a tweet that said:
"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."
What this user did not know is that Tim Levad, who is the channel partner advocate for Cisco was searching for web chatter about their brand and discovered the message. He responded with
The end result is that a random utterance of a potential employee cost them a valuable job opportunity.
People, both professionally and personally, need to understand that the idea of 'internet privacy' is a mirage. Anything posted on the internet can, and most likely will, be found by another looking for information. That information may well cost them a job, job opportunity, or even a client for their company.
Addison Technologies, Inc. offers a variety of business consulting services including management of their web marketing and corporate social networking profiles.