I have long thought about the new phenomenon of social networking, web logging and comment threads that has become a normal part of life for anyone that frequents the internet. Because it’s still fairly new, the rules/code of conduct are still being written. Most sites have a general, politically correct code of conduct forbidding crude and offensive language, hate-speak and such. But after that anything goes in most cases. This makes way for, otherwise normal people, to broadcast their brilliance, creativity, compassion and humor or their ignorance, shallowness, hatred, and lack of humor (and the death of English syntax). I’m sure time will produce more social networking norms and mores but until then keep the following in mind.
Things you post on the internet can normally be seen by anyone and are usually permanent. Years from now someone, with the will and desire, can dig up Myspace comments you’ve posted, blog posts, Tweets and Facebook status updates. With that in mind, don’t post anything that may get you divorced, arrested, expelled, excommunicated, or…drum roll please…FIRED! A recent ESPN report tells of a former part-time employee of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dan Leone, who was dismissed by phone for expressing his disappointment with the teams decision not to re-sign Pro Bowl Safety Brian Dawkins (this act falls a close 2nd to getting expelled via text message). This is what Dan’s Facebook friends saw that day: “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver … Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” Ironically, the last phrase of Dan’s criticism can be used to describe his act as well, right down to the insensitive and misspelled term ‘retarded'(maybe he wanted to add emphasis by misspelling the word).
Firing a, relative, peon in these tough economic times is not the best look for a sports franchise many people regard as overpaid. They could have handled this in-house, reprimanded the guy and allowed him to keep his part time position. But Dan could have helped his own cause by understanding that big businesses take crap from every direction and will not stand for harsh critical words from a person under its employ. Dan learns a tough lesson for the good of posterity. God bless him as he tries to make ends meet and love a team that spurned him. Maybe Brian Dawkins can shoot him a bone of support to a foolish fan.
When it comes to the internet, I post as if God is standing over my shoulder. If you don’t acknowledge God, post as if your boss is standing over your shoulder.
Social Network Rule #1. Don’t Trash Your Employer Online Unless You Have or Intend to Resign.