Mama told me dont tweet to strangers

22 Mar

If you ask me 3 things I cannot live without. I guess my answer would be Gmail (My world in one e-mail id), WordPress(Most of my online creative output) and Facebook(To social network and pass time) and now increasingly Twitter.

User generated content and social media rule the roost.At least for people like me who are online 24/7.(So much for my social life now that this is in open). However the point of this post is not to enlighten you about the benefits and drawbacks of social media rather to highlight its perils.

We have heard of some high traffic bloggers losing their jobs because of commenting on their employers (Dooce) or for some stance they took (Gaurav Sabnis vs IIPM). Hence people generally do not write about work.And now the SC deems that bloggers can be nailed for what they write on their blog and the argument that it is my personal opinion or its my blog and hence my rules can not be a justification.

Of course I think its unfair because social media thrives on user content and the very essence of something like blogging is lost if you cant bring some amount of honesty into your posts. Agreed some people like the ones I mentioned here test ones patience and yet there are many others who write very honest posts on their life, work and the world around. Is this an attack on one’s fundamental right of speech?Yes it is, because its like I think something sucks but I cant say it. At the same time companies are increasingly having an online presence and monitor what is being said or written about them. When you criticize your workplace, in their eyes you are lowering their standing as a preferred employer. And they will take action. Here are 2 incidents relating to twitter that I recently came across and thought deserve a mention.


A lucky job applicant tweeted the following:

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.

This tweet caught the attention of Tim Levad, a channel partner advocate for Cisco. To which he responded:

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.

Ouch! The person who dissed the Cisco offer quickly took their Twitter account private. But Twitter search retained the record.

Remember a couple months ago when the PR guy’s tweet about Memphis came back to bite him? This is another example of the need to be careful with what you post on Twitter, and social media in general.

The applicant also posted this on her website.

I guess caution in what you put up in the virtual world is the key word. Even if you are posting under a pseudonym. Often you may have thought you have your tracks covered and maybe more open than required. You may not be a high traffic blogger and only your friends maybe reading you. This may cause you to let your guard down. But in the internet everything can spread and can be linked back to you and your ip address.The tweet author just thought she was expressing her opinion to a group of friends. The Ketchum PR guy just made an offhand statement about a town he was visiting.

You cant keep your virtual identity in a separate black box from your real one.


Posted by on March 22, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

16 responses to “Mama told me dont tweet to strangers

  1. Kanupriya

    March 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    True…corporates are keeping a close eye on online social personality of their employees…One needs to be cautious before posting any such thing. Though I strongly feel that SC rule is quite ridiculous. This is putting a stop on freedom of expression.

  2. Hemanth

    March 23, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I don’t agree with you complete! I agree what ppl write are their personal opinions and all the freedom of expression stuff. But to say “No one can question me cos this is my space” is not really the answer. If one is writing something, then let them stand up and say that they are for it. Why shy away when you write what you think is right!

  3. compulsivewriter

    March 23, 2009 at 10:15 am

    as long as you’re true to urself in what you tweet about, everything is cool. but truth be told, way too many people use twitter to vent and get nasty about things. they can’t do this in their real life. it’s these people that need to watch their backs.

  4. WSW

    March 23, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Exactly, the way you will control your tongue in your office, you need to control your fingers while typing.

    I understand the need to stand up for a serious issue like Gaurav did. But the ketchum guy commented on the towns weather or something and lost the company’s foremost client because of that.Sad!

    True!In a way this is providing them a place to vent. But increasingly the words typed online are coming back to bite the authors more than spoken words.

  5. root3

    March 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    errm… not to be too picky or anything but the first line makes it 4 things u cannot live without… assuming twitter is still part of the package! 😀

  6. Roop Rai

    March 23, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    not gonna smugly say ‘said so’. 😀

  7. spamwarrior

    March 24, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I love Gmail, facebook, and wordpress. I don’t have much of a social life either. So much for being in college… but I really liked what you wrote. I think I agree with the poster who wrote that many people use these sites to vent and get nasty about stuff… they really do have to be careful. And… some of my friends put pictures up on their sites of their really wild parties, and they have to be careful as well…

    I’m trying to use a lot of caution in what I blog about as I know that my friends can read it, and they CAN gossip about it. Not fun.

  8. WSW

    March 24, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Right now I can live without twitter but its slowly creeping up that list.


    Yup never enough of caution. And ya its no fun.

  9. Pesto Sauce

    March 24, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    True many firms do a net search these days before hiring anyone. Also the anonymity on net cannot be used as an immunity cover to escape the laws of land

  10. chandni

    March 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    been hearing so much about twitter….may be I should join the bandwagon 🙂

  11. WSW

    March 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    @Pesto sauce
    Yup pseudonyms can cover u only so much.

    Yes you should.Its a challenge to put what you want across in 140 words or less.Not to mention addictive.

  12. RaiulBaztepo

    March 29, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


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