While some people; namely, hockey players with local ties, use Twitter to congratulate an ex-wife on end of divorce payments, others spew venom about their bosses.
I know. I should have warned you to sit down first. Let me know when the shock subsides.
And the latest 15-minutes-of-fame, there’s-an-app-for-that, spotlight shines on FireMe!, which uses keywords and such to show Twitter users who tweet vitriol about their employers. The site, which is chock full of expletives — you’ve been warned — contains four categories: (1) Haters; (2) Horrible Bosses; (3) Sexual Intercourse; and (4) Potential killers. FireMe! also has a “leaderboard,” and can, if you are a Twitter user, can “calculate” the chances that you will be fired if your boss learns about your Twitter account. My chances are five percent.
The creators of FireMe! claim it was designed “to raise awareness about the danger of public online data.” Indeed, the app will send out tweets to offenders to warn them to delete offensive content. According to one report, FireMe! sent out more than 4300 tweets to offenders in a three-week period, prompting users to delete 249 of those tweets within two hours.
How does this really impact the workplace?
Well, I can’t imagine that any employer out there has the time to monitor this site on the off-chance of finding an employee who bad mouths the company. But even if you did, taking action based on a tweet could burn you. Remember that the National Labor Relations Act protects the rights of employees to discuss with one another — even critically — terms and conditions of employment. So, while firing a single griper may be ok, terminating an employee who engages in “protected concerted activity” is not.
Plus, when you have a number of employees who use social media to vent about work, rather than blame them, maybe it’s time to take a critical look in the mirror to see what you can do to improve the workplace.