If you had a bad day at work would you go home and unleash a tirade of hate about your job and boss on Twitter? No? For most people common sense would prevail but an increasing number of employees seem more than happy to share disparaging comments about their workplace and colleagues on Twitter.
Therefore it may come as no surprise that a new media App called FireMe! has been released to help employees avoid dismissal for tweeting negative comments about their job. FireMe! tracks Twitter users’ accounts and warns them by email if they have tweeted a comment that could result in their being dismissed. For example, the App will catch a phrase that contains “job” and “hate” in the same sentence or “boss” and “idiot”. The App will then send the employee an email drawing his attention to the offending comment and invite him to reconsider it. The email also sends the tweet offender a link to the FireMeter! score which provides a rating as to how likely he is to be fired as a result of his comment.
Interestingly the App categorises negative tweets into four categories, ‘haters’, ‘horrible bosses’, ‘sexual intercourse’ and (rather worryingly) ‘potential killers’. Surely I am not in the minority in thinking that tweeting “I want to kill my boss” is not going to have a happy ending for any employment relationship, but there are apparently sufficiently numerous examples of this plastered all over Twitter to warrant its own category. In the first 3 weeks of going on the market FireMe! has sent out more than 4,000 warnings resulting in 249 tweets being deleted. You could say that that represents 249 careers saved, hooray. Alternatively, since that represents a response rate of less than 6%, two other conclusions could be drawn. First, that most of those stupid enough to write bad stuff about their boss on line will also be too stupid to heed warnings about doing so. Second, that FireMe! is wildly over-sensitive to specific words and hopeless with context.
Clearly there is an entertainment focus to this App but it remains to be seen whether it will (a) encourage employees to take a more responsible approach to their social media footprint or (b) have the opposite effect, resulting in employees posting even more outlandish and offensive comments in the hope of beating their previous FireMeter! score – FireMe! has a leaderboard displaying which Twitter users have the highest chance of getting fired at any given moment. A quick review of the leaderboard today (purely for research purposes, you understand) has revealed that @twalettseet is in the lead with a 295% chance of getting fired for a comment about his or her boss that would have to contain so many ***’s I will not even attempt to quote it! Not of course that this is a remotely appropriate use of your time on a Friday afternoon, but the link to the leaderboard (including the literary efforts of those concerned) can be found at http://fireme.l3s.uni-hannover.de/leaderboard.php. Warning – some of the language used is not exactly Wildean, OK? One wonders in particular what happened to the entrant who claimed to have sexually propositioned his boss as an April Fool’s joke – “it’s gonna be sooo fun”, he tweeted, but his 111% chance of dismissal looks frankly quite conservative in the circumstances.