140 characters is all it takes to lose your job according to PR Week.
The organ of choice for communicators (you what? – Ed) tells the cautionary tale of a graduate trainee at an internationally respected communications agency who apparently tweeted ‘something extremely unflattering about Grace Dent during her appearance on Have I Got News For You’.
Dent tweeted back pointing out she does consultancy for the very same company employing the trainee. ‘You’ll bear the brunt of your idiocy at 10am tomorrow morning when you’re unemployed. Good luck,’ typed the err….dented Dent (oh haud me back – Ed).
So this is how easy it is to get the sack – sink a few tins of beer watching the Champions League, get carried away after an episode of The Voice, win £10 on the Lotto, and Tweet with wild abandon, to hell with the consequences.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland recently published guidlines on the use of social media, an advisory text for teachers highlighting the benefits of social media while outlining the perils.
This has proved useful to a number of teachers who have asked for advice as to how best to manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the myriad of other social media platforms. There is no doubt that it could used by other professions too.
I worked at an organisation where a member of staff innocently tweeted friends about a break-in at the office the previous night. The police were on site investigating when The Scotsman rang to ask about the burglary. The journalist had picked up the juicy tit bit on Twitter.
These tales of avoidable prangs on the information superhighway are salutary lessons about the importance of employing common sense in every communication that moves from the internal environment to the external.
1) Don’t mix personal views with those of the business that pays your wages
2) Don’t offer any business-related information unless approved to do so
3) Don’t venture onto the information superhighway while tipsy, euphoric, tired or angry
As a colleague of mine recently advised: ‘use the brain as a filter for what comes out of the mouth’……or in the spirit of the 21st century, don’t Tweet like a twit.