It seems like only last week we were cataloguing the ill-advised Tweets and Facebook posts that cost some idiot his job. Okay, okay, to be fair, some of those 12 social media mistakes were honest ones. Here comes a whopper of a 13th, though: three Hill staffers for Democratic congressman Rick Larsen have been fired after months of insulting and damaging Tweets became public knowledge.
“Apparently the current workload isn’t substantial enough to keep junior staffers attentions focused on professional matters,” reported the Northwest Daily Marker, a politics blog for Oregon and Washington. Why? Because over four months, legislative assistants Seth Burroughs (@therocketship1) and Elizabeth Robblee and legislative correspondent Ben Byers (@byers_remorse) posted Tweets that portrayed “on-the-job drinking, frivolous misuse of office time and resources, and contain public insults aimed at the boss himself.”
The staffers’ Twitter accounts have since been deleted, but appear to have taken reasonable precautions: they don’t name the boss by name, the accounts don’t have last names associated with them, and so forth. It’s not clear how the Northwest Daily Marker identified the accounts. However, Byers, Robblee, and Burroughs could have prevented their firings if they’d taken perhaps the most important social media precaution of all: locking down their accounts to prevent their Tweets from going out into the public domain.
This is another reminder that this sort of conversation is much better saved for texts between your friends, if you have to say it at all.