WHAT A LITTLE BIRD SAID

Eric Spitznagel wrote an article–part humor, part horror–about the many ways in which people have damaged their careers and their reputations all thanks to that little bird that tweets.  (“Great Moments in Twitter Blunders” Bloomberg Businessweek 6/11/12–6/17/12, pp. 88–89.)  The tagline to the piece says it all: “How much career damage could you possibly do in just 140 characters?  Turns out, quite a bit.”

Hey, fewer characters than that have gotten many a character in trouble!

One gentleman, a social-media manager, was having a frustrating moment in Detroit traffic.  He decided to tweet a disparaging remark about Detroit drivers—from his client’s corporate account (just happened to be a little company named Chrysler.).  Not long after that, he and his agency were fired by the client.

In another case, a politician’s staff was tweeting about the amusing and illicit ways in which they were passing time in the office while on the taxpayer’s dime.  Sadly, it took that politician four months to catch on to the farce.  One he did, he fired his entire staff.

On the other end of the scale, a CFO for a major women’s clothing store was fired, apparently for extremely boring tweets.  He was expected to be engaging the public via social media.  One of his more exhilarating tweets was, “Board meeting.  Good numbers = Happy Board.”  Really?

My mom used to say to me, “Think before you speak.”  Perhaps we can all be reminded to do the same before we tweet.  After all, we would hate to receive bad news preceded by, “A little bird told me . . . “





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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger.

I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.


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