Can Social Media Get You Fired?

Most people have posted to some sort of social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or some other site.  Thanks to technology, people can upload pictures right after they are taken, update their Facebook status, tweet and add comments to other people’s posts all with the click of a few buttons.  Technology has also made it easier for employers to see what their employees are posting.  This has led to some people losing their jobs due to what they posted on social media.

Here are some examples:

  • In Georgia, Johnny Cook, a bus driver, was fired for sharing a story on his Facebook page about a child who was not allowed to get a school lunch because his lunch account had a 40 cent deficit.  The school requested that Cook take down the post and say that he is sorry or else be fired.  He chose the latter.
  • In Australia, a video was posted of some miners doing “The Harlem Shake.”  After their employer found out, the miners were fired.
  • A woman lost her job after insulting her boss on Facebook.  Her boss was one of her Facebook friends.
  • In 2013, a picture was posted of a Taco Bell employee licking some hard taco shells.  He was fired, along with the employee who took the picture.  Taco Bell stated that the employees were fired for taking the picture and posting it to the Internet, which is against their policies.
  • A high school math teacher from Denver was fired for tweeting about marijuana and posting some risqué photos.
  • A woman from Switzerland was fired from her job just for checking updates on Facebook on the same day she called in sick to work stating “she could not work in front of a computer as she needed to lie in the dark.”
  • A woman was fired from her waitress job after posting insults about the restaurant’s customers on her Facebook page.
  • Celebrities are not safe either.  Gilbert Gottfried was fired by Aflac “less than an hour” after tweeting jokes about the tsunami in Japan.
  • Ex-MLB player Mike Bacsik was fired from a radio show in Texas after tweeting, “Congrats to all the dirty Mexicans in San Antonio” after the Dallas Mavericks lost a playoff game in 2010.

Social media is a good way to keep in touch with family members and friends.  Before you post anything though, you may want to stop and think about who might see it and could there be any negative consequences.  If you are Facebook friends with your boss, definitely do not post derogatory comments about him because more than likely he will see it, and you may be called into his office to discuss it the next day.

Another thing to ask yourself before posting anything is “will this reflect badly on me or my employer?”  If your employer is doing something unethical or illegal, that is one thing, just be prepared for the consequences if you write about it on social media.  But if you are just venting about something that made you angry at work or posting a picture of yourself doing a keg stand, you may want to rethink it and just share it with close friends and family members.

 

By Amanda Smith, Business major – IUPUC

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/06/living/buzzfeed-social-media-fired/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/26/fired-over-facebook-posts_n_659170.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/employee-fired-from-taco-bell-for-licking-shells/

 

 

 

Is texting and social media making communication too informal? How to know when punctuation and grammar really matter.

How many of you text every day? Update your Facebook status? Tweet?  How often do you actually stop and think about using correct punctuation and grammar? Do you make sure that you are using the correct form of there, their, and they’re? Most often we do not think about using punctuation and grammar that we would in an English paper when we are texting friends or on Facebook and Twitter. We have unconsciously started to become too informal because of new technology that has been introduced to the world.

How do we know when punctuation and grammar really matter? Hopefully, we all know that it matters in the workplace.  As professionals, grammar and punctuation can represent how educated or uneducated a person is based on the use of language and sentence structure.  Receiving emails that do not contain the proper form of it’s or its, you’re and your, effect and affect, can be very embarrassing for the sender of the email.  It’s important to know how to use the correct form of a word because Word does not always catch these mistakes. It is crucial to make sure that in the business world we continue to use the correct punctuation and grammar because if not it could prevent us from being looked at for a promotion or being the lead on an important project. Knowing when to use those commas and colons is important!

Facebook, Twitter, and texting do not help matters when it comes to punctuation and grammar that matter. Social media sites and cell phones have made people lazy when it comes to using proper English, commas, periods, and correct use of verbs. Most often we do not even take the time type out complete words let alone worry about our punctuation and grammar. Even though typing “ttyl” for talk to you later at the end of a text message may be appropriate, ending an email with “ttyl” is not at all. This is too informal and some people depending on what generation they belong to may not even know what the acronym means at all. Even as a college student keeping up with the internet language can be tough. The informal writing habits that Facebook, Twitter, and texting have created are almost absurd because it does carry over into English class and other aspects of life where the informality is inappropriate.

A major concern is with those children who have been born and raised in the socially media savvy world of today. These children even before they enter into formal education have already been programed to the informal use of language due to all the technological devices that are out there. They see and hear this informal language and by the time they reach school age they have already been trained to see the discipline of proper English as outdated and tedious. However, what they are failing to realize is that they are being set up for failure. These students need to be able to speak and communicate in complete and coherent sentences to be able to get their points across in an educated manner. Without the instruction and use of proper English we will have a world where people can rarely compose a proper proposal or letter to effectively convey their ideas or desires.

Being aware that we do unconsciously use more informal writing habits because of social media and texting may be half the battle. Knowing and passing on the importance of proper grammar and punctuation to the younger generations, may help sustain the importance this type of English has in the global world and hopefully will help us remember to use correct forms of communication.

By: Ashleigh Shouse IUPUC Business Major

Bias on the news and the Internet – what is the impact on society?

There is a funny phrase that has become fairly common in American society that states, “They can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true. Who told me? The Internet.”

Since the year 2000, there was a 566.4% increase in Internet usage. That equates into roughly 2.4 billion users from all over the world, with eight new users every second. Next to that, there are roughly 1.4 billion users on Facebook worldwide and not all are individuals. Some are large corporations, news outlets, religious organizations, and so on and so forth. That is 11% of the world’s population and that is just Facebook alone.

The amount of information we receive daily from our Facebook feeds, Twitter tweets, and Pintrest pins is truly amazing. With access to the Internet anyone can broadcast their views and beliefs and anyone can project their version of a national news story. So how do we see through all that distraction? With so many competing views, the central message becomes convoluted. For example, Fox News and CNN compete daily to provide their own, ‘fair and balanced news’ to the hungry masses. It is no longer as easy as reading the Wall Street Journal or watching your local news channel after dinner.

For the common reader the question becomes, “how do we know which news source to believe?” Everyone wants to get his or her own message across, and what this becomes, is not an easy question to answer. This is because what Fox news reporters might say may differ heavily (and it usually does) from the content-based website of Reddit. Our favorite source-gathering site Wikipedia, on the other hand, hosts over 17 million different articles, which are modified by users to anyone curious enough to dive in. Even our favorite search engine Google offers daily news, albeit gathered from multiple news sources.

Biased opinions on the news and Internet do an excellent job of creating argumentative ‘sides’.  Everyone has a right of speech here in America and everyone has the right to broadcast his or her views. Anybody can log onto CNN and strictly follow the flow of news that is being ejected at an alarming rate. Your choice of what you view and post on the Internet is strictly yours.

Let’s look at the most recent and controversial government shutdown as a textbook example. A highly conservative based news outlet such as Fox News will explain that this stalemate lies with Obama and his liberal agenda. Fox would exemplify Republicans as the ‘white knights’ of congress fighting to uphold democracy. While Reddit, a mostly liberal user-posted-content website, takes a different stance. Broadcasting the opposite, claiming that the actions of the Republicans are destroying what America was founded on. Of course it is all much more complicated that that, but the differences are there. We take this information from all sources and post them publically to our friends, family, and coworkers. The results we find are typically Internet arguments, which in turn become pointless shouting matches over why/why not Obama should be impeached.

It still goes deeper than that. Americans have a pretty good understanding that a lot of the news we ingest is biased in some way, shape, or form. As stated in an article from the University of Michigan’s The Medium, “On the Internet, there is little control over what gets published” (umich.edu). On the Internet there is no limitations to time or space so, we can find well-written and polished articles there. These provide so much more information than a 30-minute wrap-up with a few sound bytes. On the Internet we get the ‘full story’ or so we are led to believe. Hidden in the text, between the lines, we can find agendas and propaganda; and I don’t say that in a bad way. It is a brilliant tactic that the Internet provides for reporters who can write a clean and refined story and still ambiguously pepper it with anti-liberal ideals. As viewers it is important for us to understand the news we are reading, where it is coming from, and the purpose it is trying to achieve.

So how do we detect this bias? Well simply put, the same way we would check the bias of any other news source. We analyze the sources of the article. We should check if the sources are two competing views or if they are strong-sided. Diversity is key in an unbiased article. The article must exhibit both sides of an argument. Watch out for double standards by researching opposing views or different examples of a situation. Loaded language is huge in reporting; the difference between the words devastated and damaged can carry a different weight. Biased articles are easy to spot once you know where and how to look into them.

News on the Internet has a huge societal impact on us. People who share our views and beliefs no longer surround us; in its place, we can now make two clicks and find an atheist’s argument for morality or a conservative case against abortion, and the world becomes ever more interconnected. The question for the individual experiencing this plethora of information is not, “How do I avoid all this information?” but instead, “How do I construct a viable view from all that is offered to me?” The information is ours for the taking, but we must decide on how to utilize it.

The Internet is possibly the greatest resource we have. Two clicks with the mouse, a keystroke, and we can find almost anything we can imagine. The Internet has a dizzying amount of content and has enhanced the way we digest news. We can find a story that provides good insight into LGBT rights, then turn around with a Google search and find its counterargument. Even still it does not stop there, we can then log onto one of the hundreds of social media networks and find our friends, family, and coworkers and view their opinions and their friend’s counter-opinions and so on and so forth into the opaque vastness of the World Wide Web. The possibilities are endless.

Works Cited:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

http://www.umich.edu/~newsbias/medium.html

http://fair.org/take-action-now/media-activism-kit/how-to-detect-bias-in-news-media/

The Meta Post: Effective Blogs from Successful Companies

Sometimes when writing for blogs like this, I find myself asking “How would X write this?” or “What would the readers want X to say?” It’s no secret that the information we post on the internet directly effects how people think and feel about us. Naturally this leads us to want to post the best information we can and do so in a way that makes us seem positive, intelligent, and rational.

Companies that use blogs to communicate face the same pressures, but we the added constraint of the business’s reputation and potential profitability being placed on the line. Knowing this, companies that blog have found a great way to balance a solid informal blog that also presents the company as being successful and a place their customers want to keep doing business with.

So let’s put two highly successful companies on the spot and observe what it is that they are posting on their blogs and how the readers react. We should also notice if there is a trend to blog posts and see what members of the company are posting.  Finally we should take note on the visual appearance of the blog and if it influences the reader’s interaction with the blog.

To start off, we’ll take a look at Facebook’s Official Blog, which can be found at http://blog.facebook.com/.   As of this posting, the front page of the Facebook blog is covered by posts announcing new features that are being implementing into Facebook and posts discussing some the impacts involved with usage of Facebook.  The blog also makes sure you can clearly see feedback from users about the blog, including a widget that shows the “Most Popular Stories” from the blog. The most popular post as of this posting is discussing additions to Facebook’s Timeline feature. This post has over 35,000 likes and almost 40,000 comments with over 1500 shares.

Facebook as a company is well represented by the various posts, with posts by development team to posts from the CEO. All in all, the Facebook blog leaves me with the impression of company that wants to proudly share its work with its members as well ensure the members continue to enjoy their experience.

Our second entrant is Google’s Official blog, which can be found at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/. There is a huge contrast between this blog and Facebook’s. Notably is moving graphic that is found in the upper right side of the page, which responds to mouseovers. Also, we see a different tone than that of Facebook’s, in that this blog seems to be more focused on its content rather than its reception by readers. The posts vary in topic from information about Google products to stories about endeavors the company has taken part in.

Again, like Facebook, Google has varying departments that contribute to the blog, from engineers to corporate members. The impression I get from reading Google’s blog is that of a company that prides itself on the sharing of knowledge and educating its readers.

Hopefully through this all too brief post, I have shared just a bit of insight into how companies utilize blogs and the internet to promote themselves. Though I cannot speak for either company, I believe having these sources of information available to their customers is greatly helping their businesses succeed.

By Alex Colson, CNIT Major Purdue University

Internet Consensus and IUPUC

If you go to the dictionary or Google the term “internet consensus” you won’t find much, if anything; believe me I tried. However unfamiliar the term may seem, the concept is something we are all acquainted with. Internet consensus is simply creating a format on the internet for people to collectively put their thoughts and opinions. Then you have a large source of information ready and available to you for whatever the purpose of collecting the data was for. I have three prime examples of internet consensus:

2002: M&M color change
Changing colors isn’t a new procedure for M&M’s. They changed their tan M&M to blue back in 1995. They had the choice of blue, pink, or purple and had to call a 1-800-FUN-COLOR hotline to place their vote. What about internet consensus?  It wasn’t until 2002 that M&M decided to introduce another new color, but this time voting was done via the internet. The choices were pink, purple or aqua. There were advertisements abroad, all over the world. Consumers were invited to go online to M&M Global Vote and vote for the next color. M&M marketed this new campaign to all sorts of media. In one particular instance M&M had put a voting poll on the AOL homepage, and in a single day registered over 600,000 votes! After the time was up, the internet consensus determined that purple was to be the new M&M color.

2009: Live Music by Mass Animation    <watch video here>
Mass Animation, a computer graphics company out of California, teamed up with Facebook to create an interactive consensus with Facebook users. People had the option to download software that had unfinished clips of a possible story line and make it their own. They then submitted their short film layout and people could then vote on them. The winning submission with the most votes won a Dell XPS System, and every week the submission with the most votes won $500 per shot. Once the polls were closed, Mass Animation studios then finished the short film and Sony then showed the short film on the big screen with Planet 51. The internet consensus produced a high quality and entertaining short film.

2010: DEWmocracy <get out and vote!>  <watch video here>
Pepsi knew it had a fan craze base with Mountain Dew products and wanted to provide tasty options to its many loving fans. They provided the simplest solution: give them what they want! Pepsi created a very comprehensive poll method allowing their fans to choose everything about the new product: the flavor,  color, name, label design and fans even had the option to choose which campaign companies would make the new commercials. That’s not all! Then they finally had the option to choose one of the three drinks they created to be the new mountain dew product. Geniuses.

IUPUC
With the knowledge that internet consensus is successful and can provide profitable data, how do we implement that at IUPUC? It would be simple for IUPUC to question their students with an on screen poll installed on all the lab computers. A lot of people are investing in smart phones and use an IU mobile app. IUPUC could use that app to retrieve poll answers. So what kind of information would IUPUC receive through internet consensus? IUPUC could ask the students and teachers about what kind of new lunch item they would like to see at the café. Ask the students what class they would really be interested in taking that isn’t provided. Come up with community volunteer ideas and let the students decide on which one they would like to participate in. Find out what pressing topics we are interested in and give those majoring in journalism an opportunity to write about what we want to know more about. Any information that IUPUC needs to come to conclusions or for research can be done through internet consensus via webpages, mobile apps, Facebook, Twitter and more.

By: Amanda Jo Lucas, Business Entrepreneurship Major – IUPUC

<additional dewmocracy video> <additional dewmocracy video>

Technology and social media as protest tools.

A lot has been made recently about the role of technology and social media in realm of global politics in places such as Egypt and Libya. Some claim that access to quick easy information has turned normal ordinary people into frothing at the mouth protesters, ready for blood or at least the political life of whoever they are protesting against. I however do not share this perspective. Giving a man a butcher knife does not necessarily turn him into Michael Myers, there are plenty of people in this world with the tools necessary to render other people helpless, yet they don’t.

Facebook is a great way to meet like-minded people and bring them together for a cause. Many dollars have been raised for causes ranging from Autism to Zygomycosis, to me the answer is clear. It is not the technology and social media that is the issue. It is up to people who are using theses mediums to use personal responsibility and police themselves. You may scoff at the idea that some religious zealot halfway across the world has any intention of being responsible in the use of anything, but the moment it becomes a tool for more than protest(i.e, Terrorism)  we will see the eyes of the world focusing more on this issue and how to control it. Then quick easy information may become regulated or even screened by some sort of regulatory government, like a global big brother capable of knowing what your actions are in real-time. It may seem like a stretch but the last thing anybody wants is to be the one who did not stop the next big terror plot, especially when the information was posted right there on Facebook.

Facebook is not however the only culprit. Twitter, YouTube and MySpace may seem like natural tools in the techno-terrorist arsenal, but the truth is it does not matter what the name of the service is, the same basic principles apply. Information is being spread to very large groups of people in very little time. This problem is not limited to overseas either, take some examples from closer to home like the flash-mob violence orchestrated in US Cities such as Philadelphia, DC, Milwaukee and Chicago. These may seem like isolated events but I think that they very aptly demonstrate the power of these mediums. YouTube is everybody’s favorite time waster, you can go there to watch people build preposterous food items on EpicMealTime or just watch a baby scream with terror then delight when his mother sneezes. It is also a breeding ground for violence and any sort of protest, people involved in these protests are quick to break out there video capable phones and show their compatriots that they were part of an event and that they were really there. Another problem is created when an unexpected event happens and someone is there to catch it on their phone, because one person’s reaction to a bad situation, may end up in the eye others, as the reaction of a whole group. This scenario could lead to riots and other civil unrest that does nothing but weaken to bond between people and their governments. Soon a whole tidal wave of unhappy, violent protesters could be marching in revolt because of one person’s bad decision.

Impossible as it may seem to keep the whole entire world from using networking and technology to bring upon us civil unrest, it is in fact quite simple. It starts with you. Be responsible for your own actions and tell your friends to do the same, while it is not our responsibility to monitor our friends communications and to do such would be a violation of their privacy, it IS our DUTY to make sure that illegal activities regardless of how meager they seem are reported. This is true especially on the internet where what you do may live forever regardless of whom or what are seeing it.

Thought about by: Peder Nelson

Tweeting one’s self out of a job – how do you juggle social media and your career?

The following is an article written by Will Brown for his x204 business class:

Facebook, Twitter and other social media are all freely used at the job site and during the hiring process. Even if you are searching for a job social media can be helpful. So, how do humans balance using them and actually working? I think it really depends on the type of job itself and whether you have the job or are searching. Do you really think fast food places actually take the time to look at a possible employee’s Facebook or twitter account? Lies! Those places are so busy and are always hiring that it probably doesn’t matter at all. I know from personal experience in my younger teen years working at McDonalds there were times I would walk in that place and post on my wall how much I hated it, or when someone dropped someone’s food and still served it. It happens all the time. Fast food restaurants simply do not care, in my opinion. As far as businesses like car dealerships, government jobs, sporting equipment stores etc. These companies care a little more about the kind of employees it hires. During the hiring process, from the time you fill out the application until about a week after the job applied for has been filled, these companies check people’s social media sites. As long as you know not to post degrading comments about the place you are looking to be hired by, DUH! Or post pictures with you holding alcohol or smoking weed and that drunk/high look on your face from the crazy night you had last night at a friend’s 21st birthday party. You will be fine.  Personally I work at Hibbets Sporting Goods in Greensburg, Indiana and I have known people to get fired over social media.  The kid just simply did not get the fact that they couldn’t have their phone in the store during their shift. Let alone be on Facebook posting and commenting to his friends about last night’s run from the cops. They would post dumb things like, “wish I was at the house with a beer in hand watching TV.” Come on man.  Then they were smart enough to add their boss, on Facebook, while at work. The boss knowing that we did not have a extra computer to get on Facebook, therefore knowing the employee was on their phone that they can’t have in the store. Not Smart!

                Let’s look at some instances that social media has literally cost someone. Chad Ochocinco, National Football League (NFL) wide receiver, was fined 25,000$ for using Twitter during a game in violation of the social media policy in the NFL, an actual policy that he broke and was fined for it.  The NFL and other professional sports have social media policies. What makes you think businesses don’t? Just about every big name in professional sports have twitter accounts, LeBron James, Drew Brees, Chad Ochocinco, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Ray Lewis, even commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell. All they are doing is providing entertainment for sports followers, not saving a life, fixing the economy, working in the government, working in a sport store or working at Wal-Mart.  They get fined big money for using them while they are at work. Social media is huge, very easily accessed and equally as detrimental to whether you get a job, or keep a job. Balance wisely possible employees.

                Now on the other hand social media could be good for the hiring process. If you fill out your bio page, and your profile and keep them updated employers have something else to look at when deciding whether to hire or not to hire. Always post up to date information on those pages and keep them updated. Also, in this world of technology we, social media users, know there are ways to keep people from looking at your pictures, posts, comments and statuses. It’s called the privacy setting or just not friending your boss on Facebook.

If You Post It, They Will Come….

Welcome to the X204 Project!  We are a group of business communication students at Indiana University – Purdue University’s Columbus campus.  Together, we are exploring workplace-oriented communication topics in a social media format.

Failure to practice good communication habits can stop your forward career progress.

Beginning in September of 2011, we will post weekly topics focused on communicating effectively in a business environment.  And, as real communication is a two-way street, we welcome your feedback!