Who wants to get fired?
This question is the tag line on the website FireMe! (Warning: language may be offensive to some readers). FireMe! tracks, categorizes, and estimates the likelihood that a tweet (the 140 character micro-blogs that users publish on Twitter) could get the tweeter fired if his or her boss reads the tweet. The tweets that are most likely to get a user fired are published on the leader board, which includes such bon mots as “I already hate my job” and “please fire me”.
FireMe! also allows users to enter their own twitter username to check how likely they are to get fired based on their tweets. I used that tool to check the twitter accounts of John Craig (@JDRCLabour) and Kevin MacNeill (@kdmacneill), who are partners and tweeters in our Toronto labour and employment law group. With a 0% likelihood, both have clearly mastered the art of the appropriate tweet.
According to the developer, the dangers of negative tweets remain abstract, and young and inexperienced users, in particular, could benefit from after-the-fact privacy warnings from websites like FireMe! To test this theory, FireMe! sent out 4,304 warnings to users who tweeted something that could get them fired. 249 users deleted the offending tweet within two hours of receiving the warning.
Tweets like those featured on FireMe! raise questions about whether employers can and should monitor employee use of social media, and whether employees can be disciplined for the inappropriate use of social media at and away from work. For answers to these and other questions about social media in the workplace, please watch Rhonda, Christina, Andrew, and me discuss social media in the workplace during last year’s Managing the Workplace seminar series.