Being a twit on Twitter

Twitter.com is the latest social media craze to hit the UK. It's a microblogging service - which basically means you can post short updates (tweets) about what you're doing from your phone or computer, and keep up to date with the latest from people in your network. Different people are using it in different ways, and many finding it opens up some great new ways to keep in touch or to make new contacts. Problem is, it's just like any other social network in that it also opens up some very effective new ways to lose your job, if you're not thinking about the implications of how you're using it. A US student looking for a summer job recently found this out when she was offered an intern position at California IT giant Cisco. She was in two minds about taking up the job, because of the long commute, and sent the tweet "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work" to what she thought was just her 45 close friends. Unfortunately for her, a Cisco manager was monitoring public tweets about the company, and wrote her back a public reply: "Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web". As the manager was a heavily followed Twitter user, this spread all over the service in no time, earning her the internet nickname of Cisco Fatty. She has some thoughts about how this scandal blew up so quickly on her own blog, and it's a salutary tale for all of us using social media. Here on workSMART, we're concerned that whilst people are holding more of the conversations they normally have offline with friends online, and a growing number of people network for work on social media (all the time linked to their personal life and activities), there's going to be an awkward period for employment relationships, until employers catch up with the technology and grow slightly thicker cyber-skins. We've actually made an online tool, called Not Safe For Work, which gives a basic training in loads of the ways your computer might end up getting you the sack if you don't prepare properly (naturally including social media). It features videos from industry experts and a personal advice generator to give you a prescription based on your own situation. Give it a go now at www.worksmart.org.uk/nsfw