Can Tweeting Get You Fired?

There has been a lot of #TwitterBacklash in the past few years.

Major brands are running their mouths in 140 characters or less. Some are paying the price. Kenneth Cole once tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online…”

If an uproar is what KC wanted, they most certainly got it.  Nothing goes unnoticed on Twitter and an immediate outcry  labeling Cole “insensitive,” among the nicer terms forced the company to take down the Tweet, issue two retractions and a Facebook apology.

Reportedly, it was Cole himself who penned the Tweet so nobody’s head rolled for that one.


Fashion designer Marc Jacobs’ CEO Robert Duffy tweets for the company. Much of the draw of Duffy’s live stream-of-consciousness (@MarcJacobsIntl) is his self-proclaimed lack of filter — “I do over share. Gotta stop. Get myself in trouble,” Duffy has tweeted in the past.

Duffy announced yesterday, via Twitter, that his reign as the company’s mouthpiece will end.  There’s no indication that Duffy lost his post because of aforementioned over sharing.

You, however, may not be as lucky as these chatty heads-of-state.

We’ve all heard the story of the teacher who lost her job because she called her students “germbags” in her Facebook status. Or the man who called in deathly ill, but posted details of his wild night before — only to be fired the next day. How do you explain that on your resume?  Over-sharing, spilling secrets, slinging insults or telling lies seem like common sense rules of social media one should not break.  But are you committing job search mortal sins online? You very well could be.

Everything you do online is recorded. Kevin Fogarty, author of Mind Your Social Netiquette reminds job seekers it could be  “easy to forget your social skills. Ignoring a contact’s “hello” feels less harsh when it’s done from 3,000 miles away. Sharing a racy joke with the group seems harmless when it’s done on your mobile phone between interviews. But snubs still sting, and tawdry remains tactless.

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Embarrassing photos or remarks can surface during your job search. Recruiters and hiring managers routinely search social-networking sites for background information, and many will hold photos of youthful or drunken hijinks against them. The lesson? Be careful what you put out there.

My grandmother once told me “never put anything down on paper that would make your grandma gasp.” Grandma didn’t have a Twitter account but I’m sure the same rules apply.

If only someone told Kenneth Cole.