Stories of employees who get fired for exercising poor judgment in their use of social media constantly make the news. There are too many to report, really. But some can serve as valuable lessons, thereby warranting a bit of special attention. Here’s one such story, reported by My Fox Philly.com.
Vanessa Williams was a social-media specialist with an economic development agency in Bethlehem, Pa. That was, at least, until Friday, when she posted the following on the company’s official Twitter account:
We start summer hours today. That means most of the staff leave at noon, many to hit the links. Do you observe summer hours? What do you do?
Her (former) employer, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., is funded partly with tax revenue and is charged with helping bring business to the area. Another user responded to the tweet and asked if economic development wouldn’t be better served by having the agency’s staff stay at work and off the links on Fridays.
I suppose the lesson here, like the lesson in so many of these stories, is to never assume that you’re “too smart” or “too experienced with social media” to make a mistake or have a lapse in judgment. The casual nature that makes social media such an attractive form of communication is exactly what can make it so risky to use. In short, the moral of the story is to tweet with caution.