Tweeting At Work? | Ouch, This Hits Home.

I feel like a reporter writing this article because I’m going to share something with you that just happened to someone very near and dear to us all, but I’m going to keep his name out of it.

If you know who I am talking about, please do not put his name in the comments, let him remain anonymous, which he has requested. In this article, I will change his name to Chris.

In 2009 we all learned that employers use Twitter to not only recruit potential employees, but also to screen candidates. Someone has even created a list called “The Ultimate List of Employers Recruiting on Twitter”

According to this article, 45% of Employers use Facebook-Twitter to screen job candidates and these are the things that they look for on Twitter:

Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent

However, did it ever occur to you that you might be working somewhere, even for several years, and they are monitoring your Twitter activity? That is exactly what happened to Chris.

Chris has been working at the same employer since 2004. Up until yesterday, he was in a management position and had a reputation for being a role model employee. Chris often tweets us all from his work, letting us know what he is up to.

Apparently his employer has been monitoring that activity for a while. Yesterday, someone in the Loss Prevention Division showed up with a printed list of all of his tweets. Chris was humiliated as they demoted him and cut his pay in half as punishment. He is obviously devastated and he wants everyone to know that this can happen to anyone. Never assume anything you put on Twitter is not seen by your employer. Assume it is on a billboard for everyone to see.

He has lost sleep over this, his wife is shocked and their whole lifestyle has been turned upside down as he now looks for another job since he cannot pay his bills with half the salary. I’m sure you’ve noticed that he has been tweeting a lot less. He said, “I really have no one to blame but myself. It sucks. I feel like a total loser.”

This is devastating to me. I understand that his employer wanted him to stop tweeting, but this punishment seems way too extreme to me. What do you think?

Twitter is here to stay, so there must be a way for tweeple and employers to co-exist. Please take this warning seriously. When he finally comes out and you see who this is, you’ll realize how close to home this hits and how serious this problem can be.

Updated 1/20/2010: Chris is currently looking for a job in Retail Management anywhere from NYC to Delaware. He currently lives in the Philadelphia/South NJ area, but he will go wherever the job is. If you know of anything that might be available, please leave a comment below. He is very appreciative of any help you can offer in his job search.