Employee Live-Tweets Her Firing From Company Account (Ouch)

Let’s start with a tip today. If you fire your company’s social media manager, you might want to disable their access to the business’ official Twitter account first – and every other social media platform, too.

British company HMV learned that lesson the hard way when an employee live-tweeted her firing. Here are some of the tweets she sent out from the company’s Twitter handle before her access was shut off:

“We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!!”
“There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution of loyal employees who love the brand. #hmvXFactorFiring”

In another amusing twist – amusing at least to everyone but HMV management – the employee tweeted that she overheard the company’s marketing director ask “How do I shut down Twitter?”.

While not every business executive is a social media expert, this situation underscores how dangerous a lack of appreciation for the power of the internet and social media can be. When a police officer is given a sidearm, it’s understood that he or she has received the proper training and will not literally shoot themselves in the foot. Business leaders, however, shoot themselves in the foot all the time when it comes to social media risk management.

The ultimate goal should be to part ways with employees on good terms, but unfortunately, that is not always possible. In either scenario, whether an individual chooses to use personal online accounts or hijack company ones, businesses must be prepared to actively manage their digital reputations. But, more than that, this should be an ongoing focus for companies, not just one that pops up whenever something negative happens.

John Sileo is a digital reputation expert and keynote speaker on social media privacy, identity theft and fraud. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.