This morning I read this article in Digital Media, which really intrigued me. The story was about an experienced columnist, Catherine Deveny, tweeting from a live event. Despite writing great articles for her publication (The Age) for a number of years, the publication has decided to terminate her employment because of one (!) controversial tweet.
In explaining the decision to sack Deveney, The Age’s Editor-In-Chief, Paul Ramadge, said:
“We are appreciative of the columns Catherine has written for The Age over several years but the views she has expressed recently on Twitter are not in keeping with the standards we set at The Age”.
Towards the end of the article, and I quote :
Whilst many would claim that social media sackings impinge on free speech, the litany
of incidents suggest that anyone using Twitter or Facebook as a form of self expression should think twice before sending out that controversial or cutting remark.
The web has given “free speech” a whole new meaning: more people can now express their views publicly! That’s a good thing! But no one ever said that Free Speech have no implications. You won’t get arrested for broadcasting your controversial views (as long as you don’t break other laws), but if your
views are not in line with the company who hired you, or the organization looking to hire you – you won’t get to keep your job or get hired. In the free world, companies are also free to make a decision about an individual. When you express your views, freely, not everyone’s gonna like them. Whether you do it online or offline!
The main difference is – what you say online, will always be found on Google. ALWAYS! Even if the website or webpage is no longer available, the comment, or remark, or tweet will be cached (or stored) forever!
Today’s teenagers will have a lot to explain to their future employers about their Facebook or other online activities. Their personal brand will be tarnished forever, and sometime (due to “tagging”) out of their control.
In a recent “online presence” presentation, someone asked me how they can make sure other people won’t tag you in a compromising position (drunk, disorderly, etc…). My answer was short, but harsh: “Don’t get yourself in that situation!”
You are the only one who can control your actions. And your actions might find their way online.
Have a good weekend 😉