Louisiana News Station Fires Two Staffers Over Social Media Policy

The internet is abuzz with news about the firing of meteorologist Rhonda Lee for a Facebook post she made on her former employer’s account. Lee, who until November 28 was a meteorologist at KTBS in Shreveport, La., responded to a comment from a viewer on the station’s Facebook about the “Black woman with the short hair,” noting he didn’t like it and questioning if she was a cancer patient.

After several days Lee decided to respond with what I and many others consider a well-thought out message to the viewer, noting that her health was fine, her hair was a reflection of her African-American heritage, and that she hoped to set an example for kids that they can be successful with all types of appearances.

The higher-ups at KTBS responded by firing her for violating the station’s social media policy.

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CNN’s Roland Martin Suspended After Super Bowl Tweets

CNN Correspondent Roland Martin was indefinitely suspended by the network this week after the outcry over his Twitter commentary during the Super Bowl grew too loud for the network to ignore.

During last Sunday’s big game Martin took issue with David Beckham’s H&M ad, tweeting “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl”. At another point he wrote, “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass.” Many took his comments as advocating violence against gays and called for an apology, which trickled out over several days.

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Job Hunting in 2012? Here’s How Social Can Help

If the new year means a new job, you should be looking at your social profiles to make sure there’s nothing there that will put you out of the running for your dream gig. Once that’s done, these tips from Career Enlightenment should get your search on the right track.

 

Lawsuit: Facebook Info on Sexual Orientation Lead to Firing

A West Virginia woman is suing an organization that offered her a job and then rescinded it, apparently because information on her Facebook page gave them the impression she is a lesbian. The organization operates several after school programs, including at least three operated by churches. The reason given for the change of heart over the job offer was resume inconsistencies, according to an article in the Charleston Gazette.

(Original Story at The Charleston Gazette)

Hiring Via Social Media Increasing

Companies are expanding their recruiting via social media way beyond LinkedIn, but they’re also looking more than ever at the profiles of potential candidates according to the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey. It’s no surprise that companies use LinkedIn to find people to fill jobs, but Facebook and Twitter as are increasing as well. Check out this infographic:

State of Social Recruiting

45 percent of companies responding say they always look at a potential candidate’s social media profiles, up from 32 percent last year. But applicants still want to keep their profiles to themselves–almost 70 percent of said they did not disclose their social networking profiles. These numbers reveal a significant overlap, so even if people aren’t actively sharing their profiles, employers are looking at them anyway.

If you’re job hunting now or planning to start soon, getting your profiles in order is key. Don’t focus on just LinkedIn, which is the professional network. Check out your Twitter profiles and get acquainted with Facebook’s new privacy settings (they changed again last week). The ball is in your court.

Employers Adding Social Media to Background Checks

Social Intelligence, a company specializing in social media background checks for employers, is the subject of a profile in the New York Times.  It’s a brilliant and timely idea to focus on researching people applying for jobs–it takes the onus off employers, and as we’ve seen time and again, puts employees (current and potential) in the position of potentially having their entire social history follow them throughout their career.

The article is worth the read, and younger users should especially take heart. I recently became Facebook friends with the teenaged daughters of an acquaintance, and it’s not an overstatement to say I’ve been shocked not so much by the tone of their posts, but the frequency. Until friending them my youngest Facebook connection was my 20-year-old churchgoing cousin, whos posts typically contain sweet pictures, I-love-you-Mommy messages, and shout outs to best friends. These two new additions to my feed regularly join groups that might sound harmless on the surface, but it really only takes one person to misinterpret why someone “Likes” We Can’t Date Because of Your Race/Religion. For all we know this group could be doing the noble work of trying to dispel stereotypes about intercultural relationships, but how does that read in a report next to ALLLLL those other social interactions? Do these reports include any context beyond a title? Does it matter if they do?

This company is just taking the Google search that people are already doing when they get a resume, packaging it and selling it to a company, making it even easier to find more information that ever before. And I can only imagine that after this piece their phones are ringing off the hook with businesses ready to sign up.

AP Gives Staff New SM Guidelines

This week the Associated Press gave its staff AP Social Media Guidelines for Staff, just a week after it reminded employees of their responsibilities as members of the media to remain neutral on social networks.

The new guidelines are much more detailed not only on the tone of posts, but on the relationships that exist people between social networks. While the “Opinion” portion of the guidelines are straightforward, they aren’t new. For all the commenters lamenting/ranting about the loss of free speech implied by these rules, the fact is that personal conduct guidelines are nothing new in the professional world, and reporters have always been held to a higher standard and restricted from participating in political protests and the like. I learned this in first year J-school classes as an undergrad, and I’m glad the standards are still in place. The only new element here is the venue, in this instance social networks.

AP wisely encourages employees to take advantage of Facebook privacy settings, particularly in light of this requirement: “It’s important to monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards; any such material should be deleted.” I’ve done a good job of keeping the crackpots away from my social accounts, but every now and then someone posts something weird or inflammatory and I would hate to get in trouble for that mistake. For AP staff the best solution is to keep your bosses separate from those potential offenders, which is possible through the Facebook groups (and now Google+), but not available with Twitter.

I’m most intrigued by the rules about friending/following, especially among AP staff:

Managers should not issue friend requests to subordinates. It’s fine if employees want to initiate the friend process with their bosses.

I can think of a million reasons why this may not work (promotions? departures?) but its interesting that they address relationships among staff while also looking at external ones. Overall this update is robust and sensible–more companies would do well to follow AP’s lead.

Teachers+Students+Facebook=Disaster

Teachers and students are having it out time and again on Facebook, and often the teachers seem to be less role models and more immature than some of their young students! Last month a teacher in Chicago was forced to apologize after posting pictures of one of her students on Facebook, all in an attempt to make fun of her hairstyle. According to the local ABC affiliate, the teacher asked 7 year-old Ukailya Lofton to hold her braids in front of her face, which had a Jolly Rancher tied to the end (the girl had seen the style in a magazine and asked her Mom to recreate it). The teacher then posted the picture on Facebook with the comment, “right, this is for picture day.”

The girl told her mother about the incident, who found the page online and noted the comments. The teacher has since apologized to the family, however the mother is considering a lawsuit so this story may not be over. And best of all? The teacher in question teaches computers to grade schoolers. Way to instill some digital ethics in your impressionable students!

[Original story at ABC7 WLS-TV]

Tweets Get Ind. Official Fired

USA Today is reporting that a Deputy Attorney General in Indiana was fired earlier this week after urging police to use live ammunition on protesters in Wisconsin on Twitter. According to the article, Jeff Cox responded to a tweet posted by the magazine Mother Jones, and engaged in written back-and-forth that got quite heated. For more details, check out the original article that lead to Cox getting fired at Mother Jones.

Additional research shows that Cox has passionate political beliefs, as espoused on his blog and Twitter account, both of which are now closed. While such beliefs are perfectly acceptable in the US, a public official calling for such a response to protests is beyond the pale, and his former employer agreed, noting in a statement “We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.”

“What is the Internet?” Clip Gets Employee Fired

Last week an incredible clip from an old Today Show episode popped up online. In it, Katie Couric, Bryant Gumble and Elizabeth Vargas are trying to figure out what exactly the Internet is. The 1994 news cast is now YouTube gold and made the leap back to TV–I saw it on Attack of the Show, and even the Today Show aired it and weighed in.

If you haven’t seen the clip it’s definitely worth a watch. There’s nothing embarrassing about it–the hosts of the show were simply discussing questions a huge segment of the public was thinking: what does that @ thing stand for? Is the Internet a computer? How does this email address work? It’s really quite funny. Except to the person who shared the clip. Aol News is reporting that NBC fired them because they have a history of distributing unauthorized material.

Well, company policy is company policy, but I’d love to know more on why this person was just fired if they have a history of this sort of behavior. Was senior management ashamed? It would have been inspiring to see this turn into a conversation between digital natives (like most of the audience of Attack of the Show) and their parents or grandparents, who may still have questions about the internet, all these years later. Doesn’t NBC run those “The More You Know” PSAs? This would have made a great one. Opportunity missed.