What can you say in 140 characters or less? Evidently, enough to get your job offer rescinded.
Popular social networking site, Twitter, is a forum for members to update what they are doing for up-to-the-minute lowdown on everyone you want to follow. You can follow celebrities, publications, web sites, blogs and friends. But use caution, because even people who aren’t following you can search your tweets. In an article on MSNBC it explained how a Cisco new-hire was let go before he even started the job. “Here’s the tweet the now Web-infamous ‘theconnor’ shared with the world: ‘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.’” To which Tim Levand at Cisco tweeted back, “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”
Is the question why would he tweet that? Or is it why Cisco spent the time to monitor this new employee’s tweets? Either way, the offender has become known as “Cisco Fatty” all over the Internet. Ciscofatty.com was created and so was a YouTube video.
This is yet another classic cautionary tale much like the bank intern who was fired for telling his employer he couldn’t be at work because of a family emergency then showing up in a time-stamped photo on facebook of him dressed in a fairy Halloween costume holding a beer.
The moral of the story is never tell the truth online when you lied offline unless you want to get caught. MSNBC says, “It’s like virtual Darwinism. The “Cisco Fattys” of the world are damned by their own senselessness. It’s only a matter of time before each they stumble on the Twitterific platform of their ruin.”
So now I wonder what’s next for these Internet blabbermouths. It could also be that as more and more web 2.0 outlets emerge, more sites become mainstream which would result in significantly more time and energy required to spider all of the social networking sites and posts created by one person. So did Cisco monitor theconnor on facebook, myspace and linked in too? What will happen when the number of popular sites increases? How extensively will they search the person?
It’s possible that eventually embarrassing facebook posts, myspace profiles, tweets and blogs will be so common that human resources professionals and business owners will not pay attention to them anymore. Nearly everyone has something they shouldn’t on those sites so employers may have to give up and turn a blind eye.
Then there is the risk that all social media users will become cautious and post everything anonymously. But that would defeat the purpose of sites like facebook and linkedin where the objective is to allow viewers to get to know you. It would also be difficult to find people to follow you on Twitter and connect with friends if they don’t know who you are. Social networking is like being at a party. Only a party where the whole world can access what you said and what you looked like. Maybe knowing whatever you do on Friday night, your BFF will post on facebook Saturday, which your boss will see before Monday morning, will create a more discrete America. Just today I read an inappropriate blog that is not the sort of thing you would like your best friends mom to read followed by a series of backpedaling tweets written by the author expressing her embarrassment over said best friend’s mom having her blog on RSS feed.
What will the web 2.0 generation be like in 10 years? You college roommates may still harbor drunken photos well into your professional career or a disgruntled old flame could come out with photos of you in a previous relationship even though you are now married with children. Employees can air the dirty laundry of employers and on it goes. And what’s up with my mom being on facebook now? Censor Alert. Censor Alert. It’s the age-old rule that people only publicize an opinion about something if they are passionately in favor of or vehemently against it. The only difference is it’s becoming increasingly easier, more personal and more widely distributed.