So we’re always told to watch what we put on any and all of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) because of the potential consequences. In fact, the last discussion we had in Business & Future of Journalism covered this specifically. Opinions flew all over the board as this is a pretty touchy subject, and rightfully so.
A little over two weeks ago, an example of basically a worst case scenario occurred. Some of you are probably familiar with this story. Six years after die-hard Philadelphia Eagles‘ fan Dan Leone was hired as the security chief for the team’s west gate, he was fired over a Facebook status.
The Eagles were unable to sign safety Brian Dawkins, who then signed with the Denver Broncos. Leone’s status soon after read, “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” Okay, so this status is a little over the top if it’s about your current employer. Yet on the other hand, it really is freedom of speech as a loyal fan.
I’m not taking one side over the other but I do think it was pretty heavy to fire a guy that’s been working six years for you without at least telling him to take it down first. ESPN featured a live chat with Leone where users were able to ask him questions about the matter…and one, in particular, stood out to me the most:
Farhan (Milpitas, CA): Has Brian Dawkins contacted you? He should offer you a job. You clearly got his back.
Dan Leone: Actually, I did here for one of his representatives and he said that once he gets back in the Philadelphia area in April, he would like to sit down and talk to me. Maybe help me out with some things.
This doesn’t mean Leone is going to get a better job with his favorite player, but it does mean that someone of significance didn’t think it was a justified action/reaction.
Nowadays, not landing an interview or job offer (or getting fired, I suppose) over something of this nature is becoming more and more of a reality. We’re told to watch what we say and do for a reason, but honestly, where do you draw the line? I know we all have our personal barriers, some extending WAY past others, but do you make everything of yours professional and private? How do these sites maintain the personal life appeal? In Leone’s case, the choice of language wasn’t too smart. However, if you would have explained the story to me and not the outcome, I wouldn’t have guessed that he was fired.
I’m more curious than anything as to what you all do with your personal accounts. Do you have separate personal and work accounts? Do you make everything private? Do you refrain from allowing any potentially risky content go up? Personally, my Facebook is ‘private’ to those I’m not friends with and my pictures are ‘hidden’. Yes, I know that doesn’t mean things can’t be accessed and I do allow my ‘wall’ to be viewed by friends. Also, how do your boss or professional colleagues think your sites should be maintained?