Posted 01 October 2014 | 0 Comments

Social Media is everywhere. The ascent has been rapid and widespread.  Just like the rise of personal computers and mobile phones, we’ve reached a point now where it is unusual to meet people who don’t use Social Media in some way.

So, let’s assume you’re on at least one social network. You might use it to post pictures of your dinner, hilarious cat videos, countless selfies, interesting blogs or funny pictures. Maybe you spend your Friday evenings watching old acquaintances argue with their second cousin twice removed over the state of their grammar? (Hey, we’re not here to judge your lifestyle… quick, pass the popcorn, they just said ‘there’, not ‘their’!)

Whatever you use your social media account for, odds are that at some point you’ve shared your opinions, talked about the things you love/hate/laugh at and posted photos of your life outside of work. There is no reason not to, just remember who might be looking.

In a study carried out by the CIPD, it was revealed that 2 out of 5 employers would look at an applicant’s social media accounts as part of the recruitment process. Although there are guidelines for hiring managers, and most big businesses have social media policies, there is nothing illegal in taking to the internet to find out the deep, dark secrets of a potential or current employee. (as long the sleuthing doesn’t lead to discrimination over a protected characteristic) It is certainly worth keeping in mind the potential audience of that 3am drunken Facebook status and reviewing your privacy settings to make sure you know exactly who can see what you’re up to.

Unfortunately for these guys, privacy settings were not a top priority and they learned the hard way that social media blunders can bring about your downfall. Here’s a roundup of a few of the ways people have damaged their careers with social media;

1. The ‘Cisco Fatty’ Incident

Back in 2009, a then 22 year old Connor Riley took to Twitter to comment on a job offer she had just received. Unfortunately for Connor, her less than complimentary tweet was spotted by an employee of the company (networking hardware giant, Cisco) who promptly offered to let the hiring manager know about her ‘reservations’. Needless to say, Connor did not get the job. *facepalm*


2. No Tip? No Job

A North Carolina waitress posted a Facebook status complaining about a couple who had left no tip after they stayed late, keeping her in the restaurant longer than she would have liked. In what definitely wouldn’t be described as a smart move, she also mentioned the restaurant by name in her post. Needless to say her employer was not impressed and, after concluding that she had broken company rules by making disparaging comments about customers, she was given her marching orders.


3. Lying Down on the Job


Back in the UK, staff in Swindon’s Great Western Hospital were suspended after posting photo’s online showcasing their participation in ‘The Lying Down Game’. The pictures showed various staff members lying face down on resuscitation tables, hospital floors and even the helipad! The pictures failed to amuse Hospital bosses who made headline news at the time issuing suspensions to all involved. (Those of you with a particularly keen eye for detail may notice that the above picture is not of the hospital in question. They don’t appear to be available for public consumption… Shame.)


4. The Family Emergency Fairy


Kevin Colvin, an intern at Anglo Irish Bank, informed his boss of a family emergency that would keep him away from work while he returned to New York. Unfortunately for Kevin, who we assume forgot that he was connected with colleagues on Facebook, he was busted after having posted this lovely snap of himself enjoying a party in Massachusetts the day he was apparently in New York. Although the internet is littered with stories about this incident (including claims that his boss CC’d the entire company into the email pointing out his mistake) it is not clear whether he was able to keep on and finish his internship.


5. Miners Shake Up Major Trouble


15 minors in Western Australia got themselves into serious hot water after posting a video on YouTube of themselves performing the Harlem Shake. (Remember when that was a thing?) Their employer, Barminco, were none too pleased to see their overnight team shaking it in the Agnew Mine and promptly dismissed those involved. In the dismissal letter, the company stated that the stunt went against their “core values of safety, integrity and excellence”. They didn’t stop at dismissal, these miners were also banned from every Barminco project across the globe. Probably not the reaction they’d been going for.

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