Ahh social networking. Sometimes users are in such a hurry to vent through a status update that they don’t stop to remember who’s going to see it. And if you happen to say something negative about someone or something, the situation can quickly turn ugly.
Case in point: there’s a lovely jpeg floating around the Internet today that shows an employee venting about how much she hates her boss on Facebook, all the while forgetting that she is friends with her boss on Facebook. And once her boss saw it, he responded and promptly fired her. We posted the jpeg below so you can see the full encounter.
Now, however you may feel about this situation, it does pose an interesting query: where do you draw the line between personal and professional accounts in social networking?
Although we’ve talked about the added benefits of companies getting on Facebook and Twitter in the past, we’ve never really discussed the internal effects of employee personal and professional social interaction. After all, the communication channel is essentially a you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours situation. If a company treats their employees well, then those employees are more likely to say positive things through social media that enhance the company image. But if the tweeting or updating is all negative, you could end up taking each other down. For instance, take a look at the girl below that got fired. The things she said about her boss (whether they be true or not) certainly don’t make the company look good. Think about it: if you read that, would you want to go work there?
The most important thing to remember in the social networking age is visibility. It’s communication designed specifically so other people can see what you do and say. Personal profiles aren’t so different from professional profiles–both show a unique personality or brand. Companies need to remember that if they treat their employees badly, people are going to hear about it. Employees need to remember that if you lash out at your boss or company, then there’s a strong probability you’re going to get fired.
So how do you go about maintaining equilibrium between the two? Think before you tweet. Think before you update your status. Think before you comment, respond, post a link, upload a picture or video or anything else you can do on a social networking site. Companies and employees need to try to meet each other half way by finding their own personal and professional middle ground. After all, thousands of people will be watching.