Facebook gets a lot of press as the epicenter of many workplace social media debacles, but Twitter can do its fair share of damage, too—and in fewer words. Here are a few cautionary Twitter tales.
Social Media in the Big Leagues
Major league baseball hit a home run earlier this year by issuing new social media guidelines. According to reports, the policy was not intended to deter players and staff from “engaging in social media” but to ensure that everyone involved is aware that social media posts are public and not a place for confidential information.
However, before opening day, one player struck out by apparently violating the social media rules when he played a joke on a catcher by tweeting his phone number. With the tweeting player having a Twitter following of more than 116,000 followers, we imagine the catcher wasn’t laughing.
My Followers, Not Yours
An Illinois marketer created personal Twitter and Facebook accounts and used them to promote her employer’s business. But then she was involved in a horrific car accident that kept her from work for an extended period.
In her absence, her employer used the marketer’s personal media accounts to stay in touch with her followers—and its customers. From her hospital bed, the marketer demanded that the company stop using her personal accounts, but the firm refused, and she brought the employer to court.
The woman claimed false endorsement, and the judge agreed that she had shown the employer’s “intent to commercialize an interest in her identity.” But the judge rejected the marketer’s attempt to charge violation of the Illinois Right to Publicity Act.
Social media, employee leaves, and more: Don’t miss the 2012 California Employment Law Update conference. More info here.
Tweeting Gets Reporter Terminated
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that an Arizona reporter was legally terminated after posting unprofessional tweets on his work-related Twitter account. The board decided that his tweets did not involve protected concerted activity.
What’s unprofessional tweeting, you ask? Here’s one tweet he posted about his colleagues: “The Arizona Daily Star’s copy editors are the most witty and creative people in the world. Or at least they think they are.”
Tweeting While Intoxicated?
A congressman recently fired three employees for tweeting about their drinking habits … while on the job! The staffers tweeted about everything from drinking Jack Daniels whiskey and coffee in meetings to not being able to pass a sobriety test. A few tweets even insulted the congressman himself.
The employees were fired shortly after the tweets, which appear to have spanned several months, were discovered.
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Just this week, a congressional candidate in South Carolina had to shut down her campaign's Twitter feeds after a staffer used it to call her opponents "homos." The lack of discretion and judgment you sometimes see on Twitter is really mind-boggling.