You know that Christmas song by Luther Vandross where the female singer says that she’s not getting under the mistletoe with him anymore? And when he asks why, she says, “Because you don’t how to act when you get under there”. That’s how some of us are. We don’t know how to act when we get onto the internet.
A recent discussion on a local radio station asked whether an employee could be fired for bad-mouthing his or her boss, or the company that he or she worked for, when the criticism is put on Facebook or some other social media platform.
There are so many things wrong with the issue, the first of which is the fact that we seem to have forgotten that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’. Which means (in this instance) – if you say nothing about anything, you’ll sleep better than a baby all night.
Second is the fact that some people aren’t using the brains that God gave them. So pretty soon, all employment contracts are going to include caveats and instructions about employee behaviour not just on the job, but on social media as well.
You know this Facebook/social media thing is so funny.
Either we’re pretending to be people we aren’t, or we behave like two different people. It used to be that the person who punched in at 8 was the same person who punched out at 5, so that the policeman or the lawyer or the school teacher behaved a certain way, whether she was in or out of uniform. But some of us use social media with such bravado that you would think we were posting under somebody else’s name.
Months ago I read about the editor of a US urban lifestyle magazine who had some less than complimentary things to say about a musical artist who was featured on the magazine’s pages. It seemed that she was the only one who thought that her rant about the celebrity was appropriate for her Facebook page.
Luckily for her, a public apology seemed to have been sufficient for her bosses, because I notice that she’s still holding the post.
But I’m surprised that this is even an issue for discussion. Surely we all know that potential employers and deans of admissions trawl social media to find information that is usually left out of resumes and application forms. And we know that once content is put out there on the internet it doesn’t go away.
And how many times have we been told that if we don’t have anything good to say, don’t bother to post it?
Here in Antigua, we know that an employee needs to be provided with a certain number of warnings before he or she can be let go. But we can go ahead, because as sure as Christmas is coming, bad-talking our employer will have us sending out some application forms. Eventually.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.