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5 Twitter Casualties: Use Caution When You Tweet

5 Twitter Casualties: Use Caution When You Tweet

Just in case you’ve forgotten how perilous Twitter can be, here are five examples of tweets that got people canned.

1. Aflac: The ongoing disaster in Japan is no laughing matter … unless you’re Gilbert Gottfried. The comedian — who is also the voice behind a decade’s worth of Aflac commercials — thought the catastrophe would make good material for some new jokes, which he then told to his Twitter audience. (Example: “What do the Japanese have in common with @howardstern? They’re both radioactive.”) Aflac, which does 75 percent of its business in Japan, was not impressed and Gottfried was fired.

2. CNN: In one of the more controversial and highly publicized Twitter firings, CNN senior editor Octavia Nasr was let go in July of 2010, after she tweeted her opinion on a controversial Muslim leader. Following the death of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Fadlallah — a Muslim cleric who was a known supporter of suicide bombings, but whom Nasr considered progressive for his stance on women’s rights — she tweeted “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Her message sent the media into an uproar, and CNN subsequently fired her on the grounds that her credibility had been compromised.

3. Cisco: In an incident now known simply as “Cisco fatty,” 22-year old Connor Riley tweeted the following after receiving a job offer from the IT company: “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.” A Cisco employee saw the Tweet and 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.” Needless to say, Riley did not end up working at the company.

4. Chrysler: On March 9, 28-year old Scott Bartosiewicz suffered every social media manager’s worst nightmare. He sent out a ranting Tweet while stuck in traffic, thinking it was coming from his personal account, when in fact, he sent it from the account of his client, Chrysler. Shortly after sending out the Tweet: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to F—-ing drive,” Bartosiewicz was fired from his job at New Media Strategies, the company Chrysler had hired to manage its Twitter account.

5. The State of Indiana: In February, Jeff Cox, an attorney for the state of Indiana was fired for suggesting via Twitter that police officers should “use live ammunition” to dismantle union protestors in Wisconsin. The tweet, directed at nonprofit news magazine Mother Jones, ignited a back-and-forth between Cox and Mother Jones reporter Adam Weinstein, in which Cox called the protestors “thugs” and “political enemies.” Upon learning that Cox was a public official, Weinstein published the details of his Twitter encounter with Cox in an article the following week. Cox was terminated from his position.

So, the moral of the story is, think before you tweet. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it or if it might offend someone, you probably shouldn’t share it with the world.

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18 comments

  1. I’ll bet this list gets ever longer. There’s no Dumb filter on your phone or keyboard. It’s easy enough to make a mistake that can lose you a job, career, or other important things.

  2. I’ll bet this list gets ever longer. There’s no Dumb filter on your phone or keyboard. It’s easy enough to make a mistake that can lose you a job, career, or other important things.

  3. As social media manager for my company, I was apprehensive about syncing my mobile Twitter app with our company Twitter handle. But the more I thought about it, I realized that the way I present myself on my personal account is in-line with how I present our company on our corporate account. If people could learn how to just be decent human beings instead of complaining/ranting/losing their tempers online, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  4. “So, the moral of the story is, think before you tweet. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it or if it might offend someone, you probably shouldn’t share it with the world.”

    I agree with Betty above, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

    Develop a reputation for giving positive information and comments that will improve society, not tear it down.

  5. Tweet as if you were tweeting to your Pastor and your Mother, both at the same time. That should keep your emotions in check somewhat.

  6. Even though 3rd world country are not recruiting people by twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn unless very few; but it helps me to be careful about using twitter as well as other social media !!

  7. The moral of the story goes beyond Twitter, think of the ripple effect your actions might cause before saying silly things.

  8. One important thing is that while you are searching for a education loan you may find that you will want a cosigner. There are many conditions where this is true because you could find that you do not have a past credit standing so the loan company will require that you’ve someone cosign the money for you. Thanks for your post.

  9. I remember Cisco Fatty in particular and thinking how embarrassing it must have been to be all over the news. That is not the 15 minutes of fame that people dream of. But I also thought “what an idiot” – because not only did Riley torpedo the Cisco job, I imagine that hiring managers all over were watching their lists for “Connor Riley” for a while so they could cross it out.

  10. Perhaps these are all examples of people who were in the wrong jobs to begin with and subconsciously wished that they could get out of it. So they tweeted something really stupid and got what they wanted.

    People never cease to amaze me. If you do not want the world to know what you are thinking, either do not think it or tell no one.

  11. Oh what a tangled web we weave! It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason. A little discretion can go a long way when communicating online.

  12. If you think it may affend others, you might want to think of the potential your comments in a public forum can have on your livelyhood.

  13. Some good examples of the power of Twitter, and how it can be central to PR – both good and unfortunate!

  14. My grandmother had a rule that she lived by – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s a good rule for everyone in this electronic age. The things you put out there may come back to haunt you.

  15. Exactly! Just as one should “Think before they speak”…Same concept and you have to wonder what in the world did they expect to accomplish? Baffling-

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