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Twitter Mistakes to Avoid at Work


Twitter Mistakes to Avoid at Work


Hamsa Ramesha/HRGuru


A lot has been written about the revolutionary impact of Twitter: how it’s changed the way we communicate, how it’s connected us to one another and how it’s increased transparency in everything we do. But as much as people love Twitter, there’s growing concern about other impacts the social networking tool is having, especially when it comes to workplace productivity.


As with other popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter is a great way to pass the time. No point in denying that it’s a quick and entertaining way to make your 9 to 5 day go by. It’s also a great place to share your troubles with the world and go on a 140-character rant. The problem is that people tend to touch upon issues that are unprofessional, threaten company privacy agreements, or reflect badly on their own work ethics.


It’s one thing to tweet about how you’re tired and looking forward to the weekend, and another to mention your passionate hate for everyone in the office and blatantly announcing exactly how you’ll be blowing off work. One is understandable, while the other could get you fired, or at least in very serious trouble.


We’ll let you figure out which.


In the meantime, here are some cringe-worthy examples of inappropriate tweets for you to learn from, and maybe laugh at.


1. Lying on the Job
2. Goofing Off at Work
3. Complaining About a Coworker
4. Complaining About Your Boss
5. Complaining About Your Boss & Your Coworker
6. Colorful Language

7. Bored at Work
8. The Work Load
9. Criticizing Your Boss’ Job
10. Using Other Social Networks
11. Threatening Violence


1. Lying on the Job

We’ve all told a little white lie to get away with something – from family emergencies to mysterious doctor appointments, it’s pretty harmless, and very common. But since you’ve gotten away with it, why broadcast the lie? If a boss or vengeful coworker comes across this public tweet, they’d be idiots not to confront you about it, and it may be cause for termination – especially if you’ve done this before. At least check the privacy button if you’re going to boast about your lying prowess – and make sure your colleagues and peers aren’t following you.


2. Goofing Off at Work

You’re already on Twitter when you should be doing more productive work. Unless it’s part of your job to work the social network, everyone knows you aren’t doing what you should be doing. “Tweeting” about how you’re wasting even more time? Not smart. Sharing how many ways you aren’t doing work? Even worse.

Hey, we’ve all got our off-days. No need to publicly declare to the rest of the world how you’re wasting the company dime.


3. Complaining About a Coworker

Working with the same people eight hours a day, five days a week, can make some of our stranger quirks seem unbearably annoying rather than adorably cute as your spouse may think. We’re not saying you should be extremely chummy with all of your fellow office mates – that’s unrealistic.

But tweeting about exactly what annoys you (when you’re on a public account) hurts. Think about it. Would you like the favor returned? Please, keep it private and be discreet.

Didn’t your mother ever tell you, if you don’t have anything nice to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all?



4. Complaining About Your Boss

This one’s a little self-explanatory. Complaining about your boss, really? And you think you won’t get fired if she finds out? And the cussing… that’s not helping any.

Yes, bosses can be a pain in the behind, but there’s a professional way to deal with it. Using Twitter to publicly voice your anger is not smart. And, as in this case, there may be a reason why your boss is acting a certain way with you. If you’ve done something wrong, ranting about your boss and complaining about work on Twitter is like digging your own grave.

Complain all you want. Just do it in PRIVATE. ’Nuff said.

5. Complaining About Your Boss & Your Coworker

Is there a reason you’re still working here? While Twitter is great for sharing thoughts, information and random stories, it’s not a solution for workplace problems and it definitely doesn’t replace good old fashioned communication. Got an issue with your colleagues? Talk to them about it. Then maybe you could tweet about how everything was resolved and your workplace is AWESOME.


6. Colorful Language

We get it, work is stressful. Venting about your problems is good. Do it to a friend, or again, in private. What you don’t want to do is come off as crass and extremely unprofessional like this post.

From their tweet, it’s clear that this person:

- Hates their job
- Work makes them very angry
- Isn’t happy with their coworkers
- Doesn’t like their work schedule and environment

If there’s this much negativity going on, ask yourself, why are you even keeping the job? And don’t say it’s for the paycheck. Deal with the problem, or don’t tweet about it to the world.


7. Bored at Work

Going to the office and plugging away at a 9 to 5 job in a tiny little cubicle isn’t quite the adventure of a lifetime. So what if the tedium of work threatens to numb your brain every now and then; at least you’ve still got a job and a paycheck right?

This is an opportunity where you can show more initiative. Ask for more responsibility, rather than looking for more distractions. You may even get a promotion!


8. The Workload

Too much work at the office?

Ask. For. Help.

Say it slowly. Be upfront with your boss about how overwhelmed you are feeling with the workload; he’ll appreciate the heads up, and you’ll appreciate the lighter load. Plus, the work gets done faster – such a win-win.

On the other hand, if you’re finding your day-to-day duties a little too much to handle, you may want to look into finding another job.



9. Criticizing Your Boss’ Job

Imagine if your boss, or your boss’ boss came across this very public tweet. It spells trouble for your boss, and MAJOR trouble for you.

Confronting your boss about issues like these is difficult, but tweeting about it will do more damage to your reputation. It sheds a negative light on you, and on your workplace. Plus, if you do get fired, don’t even think about a reference letter.



10. Using Other Social Networks

Talk about being efficient at doing nothing at work!

You’re on one social network (Twitter), confessing how you’re also avoiding work by using another social network (Facebook). If you’re workplace hasn’t blocked Facebook or Twitter by now, the will after seeing this tweet. There’s a privacy setting on Twitter for a reason. Use it.

Or maybe you want to get caught?


11. Threatening Violence

There are SO many things wrong with this tweet. But threatening violence? Seriously? You’re pretty much asking to be fired. That’s all.

We’re not saying you should practice Twitter abstinence at work, although your employer would appreciate it. Just do so in a professional way and be discreet about what you tweet, especially if you’ve got a public account. If you must complain, gossip, or vent via Twitter, hit the privacy button and do make sure your coworkers or bosses aren’t following you!


Many of these examples of Twitter misuse, as inappropriate as they were, could easily have been resolved if workers communicated face-to-face with their peers. Twitter has changed the way we communicate, but it hasn’t replaced human interaction, and never will.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009     




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