Some people spend a lot of time (some would say too much) on social media. If they keep it up, some of them could find they have a lot more time, once they’ve joined the ranks of the unemployed, to chat via the Internet.
However, if you like having a job and the income it provides (which allows you to keep paying your Internet bill or buying devices), you might want to consider a few points.
If your boss is — in your humble opinion — an idiot, do yourself a favor. Don’t post it on your Facebook account. You may find you have some friends that aren’t all that friendly. There’s a good chance not everybody will “like!”
If your immediate supervisor is a twerp, don’t tweet about him or her!
If you don’t approve of the way the president or your CEO is doing his job, think before you make some rash (incredibly clever or really dumb or threatening) statement on social network.
If you cherish your job — and security clearance — be careful what you post for the world to read. Does your low opinion of someone on high really advance the discussion?
Most people probably don’t care what other people say to 30,000 of their closest BFFs on the Internet. But there could be some who do care, and who care enough to come after you professionally, legally or both.
Stupidity, unlike insanity, is not a good defense.
Bill Bransford, a Washington attorney who specializes in federal employment law, gave an example using the improper use of sick leave: “It is pretty good evidence,” he said, “that if you have taken sick leave and then you post a picture of you after that great golf shot … made on the day you said you were sick … that you could be in trouble.”
Bransford said employees generally can’t be punished or disciplined for what they do in their private life. “But if you bring it into social media” it can be a different story.
“When an employee is critical of the employer,” he said, “that can be actionable notwithstanding the First Amendment.”
A recently retired fed, high up the HR chain, had this to say about social media. “I can see its appeal, but I hate to see it replace things like email and, heaven-forbid, an actual telephone conversation between two human beings.”
“It is a bit mind-blowing,” he said, “to think that people would post ‘news’ that they just left an ice cream parlor, or the gym … because they think their myriad of ‘friends’ will find it interesting. When they start posting very personal information or criticism of their employer or their direct boss, they’re on very thin ice … competing for a spot on the Darwin Awards.”
The Marine Corps last year dischargedSgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year veteran, for posting anti-Obama material on Facebook. At the time he was the administrator for the Armed Forces Tea Party page. The story, broken by Gina Harkins of Marine Corps Times, quoted Stein as saying other Marines should be careful what they post on Facebook or other social media cites. She quoted Stein as saying “Marines need to know, whether it be a status update or anything, that they’re being watched like Big Brother. They need to watch what they say.”
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