Termination by Twitter

By Nicolette Perry, aspiring journalist

All it takes is one; one post, one tweet, one share to get a phenomenon started and once it hits the ground running, there’s no stopping it. The #ALSIceBucketChallenge took the world by storm in a matter of weeks. No one understood exactly how it got started. Yet they found themselves participating in the icy challenge sooner or later. The awareness surrounding the #ALSIceBucketChallenge is all thanks to a little thing called social media.

Take Twitter for example. It definitely has its pros and cons. One major pro, as demonstrated through the viral #ALSIceBucketChallenge, is that Twitter has the ability to reach millions of people in a short amount of time. That right there is the basis for why journalists love to use Twitter. If a major story is developing, they have the ability to send out 140 characters of details to update their loyal followers as it’s happening. Social media has gotten so big that now, many employers hire people who specifically run checks on employees to make sure their online image is clean and respectful, which leads me to the cons of Twitter. (I promise I’m getting to the ethical aspect of all this, just stay with me).

Sometimes we tweet without even thinking twice about it. What may seem funny to me could be taken completely out of context from someone who stumbles upon my tweet. Next thing you know, my tweet spreads like wildfire and I find myself without a job. Just like that. Sometimes it’s considered a just termination, other times its not, which begs the question: What degree of access should employers have over social media?

Personally, I think employers should have limited access to their employees’ social media. I completely understand checking Facebook and Twitter to make sure an employee is professional both inside and outside the office, because each and every employee is a representative of the company. However, too many times people get wrongfully terminated over things that have nothing to do with their job. Damian Goddard is one example of this sort of situation. Goddard is a Canadian sports reporter who was fired after a tweet he sent regarding gay marriage.

Goddard

It has nothing to do with his career, but yet Goddard finds himself being served a pink slip.

Right now, companies have too much power when it comes to regulating the social media usage of their employees. Twitter doesn’t have to be all business all the time. Part of the fun of social media is sharing ridiculous things, like that amount of people dumping ice water on themselves in order to raise awareness.

Where do we draw the line between regulating and controlling?

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