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Comments Off on Twitter Use and Your Career

Twitter Use and Your Career

by Anita Brady

How Some Pro Athletes’ Mistakes Provide Important Lessons for Those in the Business World

Social networking sites like Twitter can be useful resources in the search to find a job. However, once you secure a position, the information you share online can become a liability. The experience of several high profile professional athletes illustrates that point. Below are six tips to ensure that your Twitter use doesn’t negatively impact your career.

  1. Don’t Tweet About Inappropriate Topics 

    Certain topics like religion and politics often hit a nerve with people, so tweeting your strong opinions about these issues could lead to controversy. That’s particularly true if your opinions may offend or alienate some of your coworkers or superiors, or even your clients. Other sensitive subjects, including off-color or tasteless remarks, should also be avoided. Houston Texan Kareem Jackson learned that the hard way. Jackson proudly posted photos on Twitter documenting his attendance at a cockfighting match in the Dominican Republic. Animal lovers were enraged, and it seriously damaged his reputation. Jackson would now probably agree that before tweeting about an issue, it’s prudent to consider who you might offend and how it might impact your job and professional reputation.


  2. Don’t Tweet about Your Superiors 

    When using Twitter, it may be helpful to adhere to the old adage “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Complaints about a specific person, when expressed on the internet, are likely to make their way to the target of the grievance. Therefore, broadcasting criticism of your boss can land you in hot water. No one knows about that better than NFL player Larry Johnson, who publicly insulted his coach via Twitter. The stunt eventually cost Johnson his job.


  3. Don’t Tweet about Your Working Conditions 

    Just as tweeting about a specific person could jeopardize your career, publicly criticizing the conditions in the office can lead to trouble. Although discussing (and even complaining about) one’s working conditions may be protected under federal labor laws, publicly exposing your gripes about your work is not a good career move. In 2009, San Diego Chargers’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie blasted his team for serving “nasty food” at its training camp. If the criticism had been delivered privately to management it may have been considered constructively. However, Cromartie decided to express his frustrations via Twitter, which led to embarrassment for the team and a fine for Cromartie.


  4. Don’t Engage in a Twitter Fight 

    If you’re the subject of public criticism, responding on Twitter in an aggressive manner can lead to a prolonged exchange of embarrassing attacks that appear petty and childish. Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings found himself in a Twitter war of words with someone posing as Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar. The jabs going back and forth made Jennings look foolish, especially when it was revealed that the real Jordan Farmar wasn’t actually involved in the argument. The better approach is to pick your battles. If the initial attack contains false information that could damage your reputation, responding to correct the inaccuracies is appropriate if done in a professional manner. However, if the criticism doesn’t seem credible on its face, the best policy is to ignore it.


  5. Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry on Twitter 

    Good things seldom come from voluntarily publicly revealing the intimate details of our private lives or our personal problems. Case in point: NFL player Jabar Gaffney. The fallout was fast and harsh when Gaffney tweeted hurtful things about his wife, his cousin, and another NFL player. Although Gaffney later claimed that his account had been hacked, the damage was done. Quite simply, broadcasting personal information makes people vulnerable to criticism and ridicule. Instead, when sharing personal information via Twitter or any other social networking platform, it’s best to keep it simple and refrain from revealing too much.


  6. Don’t Tweet at Work 

    Companies don’t pay employees to play around on the internet. Therefore, many employers impose strict policies prohibiting use of social networking sites while on the job. The NFL enacted a similar rule, which New England Patriot Chad Ochocinco violated by tweeting during a game. The result was a $25,000.00 fine. In the business world, employers are monitoring internet usage more and more, so employees should save the tweets until after clocking out.

Anita Brady is the President of

Editor’s Note: The advice above for Twitter applies to other social media as well. In today’s environment, it’s best to keep your privacy settings high in all media where you reveal personal information, and even better for your job prospects if you have nothing available but contact info and a CV for prospective employers.

Comments Off on The End of Email as We Know It

The End of Email as We Know It

By Loz Blain

Google Wave is set to turn online communication on its head when it begins to accept publi...

Google Wave is set to turn online communication on its head when it begins to accept public users this September.

E-mail has been dawdling along in much the same form since the early days of the Internet. In fact, e-mail now feels like a pretty stodgy, clunky and formal style of online communication these days. But hold onto your seats, because Google is about to turn e-mail on its head with the release of a revolutionary new technology called Google Wave that’s due to start trickling into users’ hands this September. Wave combines the strengths of e-mail with the immediacy of instant messaging and the collaborative power of social networking – and wraps that all up into a killer web application that can then be embedded into any web page or used as a private communication system. Sound complicated? It is – but you’ll understand it perfectly after watching this ten-minute video.

E-mail is an information-age technology that seems to still operate according to a lot of the principles and limitations that govern snail-mail. In fact, with email communication reaching almost total penetration through at least the western world, it’s starting to feel distinctly like a redundant and constrictive way of communicating. Email feels particularly stiff and official, for example, compared with instant messaging communications that can often get a result much quicker, in a more social manner.

And then there’s social networking – sites like Facebook and Twitter are revolutionizing communication among friends. Post and tag a photo, and all your buddies can comment on it. Asynchronous group conversations are thriving in this new medium.

Google has been watching carefully. The company’s history of out-there innovation started with what became the world’s most popular search engine, but soon branched out into a massive spectrum of amazing online technologies. One of the most popular has been Gmail – Google’s online email tool and a competitor to Microsoft’s Hotmail. Gmail’s innovative way of handling emails in conversational threads won it a lot of fans – in fact, it could well overtake the much more established Hotmail this year in terms of pure user numbers.

Now, Google is looking at how it might revolutionize the online communication industry and move to a truly new type of tool that surpasses email and renders it obsolete. What the company has come up with is an incredibly cool idea called Google Wave that combines the functions and features of email, instant messaging, multi-user document sharing and social networking.

Wave is a very complex system, and a tough one to summarize without a demonstration. In fact, the initial Google presentation to introduce the new technology was about an hour and twenty minutes in length. Ouch. Thankfully, the guys at have gone through and cut that presentation down into a very dense 10 minute YouTube video that will give you a good idea of what Wave is all about if you can stay focused for its entire length. Check it out:

Effectively, each piece of communication becomes a “wave” that is sent to another person or group of people. From there, rather than replying to the whole “email,” other users can insert their responses at any point in the communication – and each keystroke appears on all the wave’s users’ screens immediately. It’s like having an instant message conversation based on an email. And once you’ve commented into part of the wave, other users can respond to your comments, much like on Facebook, but in realtime.

Photo-sharing can be handled in much the same way, and once the photos are out there in a wave, other users can tag, comment and collaborate on them much the same as they could in a social network. There’s lots of options as regards privacy etc – you can turn off the instant transmission of keystrokes, for example, to let you think your sentences over a bit more before others read them. And if the idea of such a collaborative document creation system seems a bit messy, you can go back and replay the whole wave from the start and see what discussions happened where in the wave’s timeline.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Wave idea is that any wave can be used as an embedded piece of content on a website. So, if your band is putting on a concert, you can post a wave of your concert poster up on your site, and your fans can log in and respond as if they’re using Facebook. They can upload photos from the show and discuss how they thought it went – right there on your band’s website, without the need to build your own discussion engines and the like.

The idea is to open up the stodgy framework of email, and let e-communications move to a more informal, collaborative and social model. And frankly, it looks like a real game-changer. The presentation shown above was a developer preview, intended to get third-party application developers interested in using Wave as a platform – and Google expects that the real power of the system will start being realised when application and plug-in developers start building on the platform.

Personally, I can say that I’ve been happily using Gmail since its early days – and I thought THAT was revolutionary. Wave is a massive leap forward, and I can’t wait to get my hands on an account when the system starts going live to limited numbers of public users this September.