Social Media Can Change Lives, For Better or For Worse

At this point, there can truly be no doubt about the fact that social media can and does change lives. It may not always be for the good, such as in the case of more than a handful of people who claim that status post on Facebook cost them their jobs.

Facebook Fail

Ashley Johnson, waitress at a pizza restaurant in uptown Charlotte N.C. found herself immensely frustrated when a couple came in for lunch and stayed three hours, which in turn forced her to work far beyond her usual quitting time. They also left her a tip she found offensive. Johnson did what many folks seem to do lately, she ran home and ranted out her frustrations on her Facebook page.

Unfortunately, like an increasing number of other random employees around the globe, she found out that the things you say on social networks, can and very well may, come back to haunt you. Managers at her company called her in to show her a copy of her Facebook page with the offending comments and explained to her that she was being fired for violating the policy that requires employees to never speak disparagingly about the company or its customers.

Then they notified her that she had also violated another policy that states that casting the company in negative light on social networks is cause for termination.  Does your company have this policy?

Twitter Triumphs

There are also many stories like those of Kevin Smith, not to be confused with Director Kevin Smith, who found a great job through his moderate and initially half-hearted Twitter efforts.

He wasn’t just looking for another job, there were plenty of those, he was looking for a better job. Freely admitting that he was usually slow to latch onto social medias, Twitter felt a bit different. Kevin openly admits that his first efforts on Twitter were little more than a bit of pathetic whining on the internet in 140 characters or less. However, he also quickly realized that whining into the world wide web wasn’t likely to help him better his position in life.

As many months of job applications, interviews, and trolling job boards went by without the results he was looking for, he began to notice a pleasant trend on Twitter. People of all kinds with a variety of influences, who had the same interest as he did, willingly followed him on Twitter, even through his whiney blurbs.

As he began to become more involved in a Ruby programming language following on Twitter, he noticed that a notable player, and fellow Ruby enthusiast that worked for a nearby company, was on his list. Checking into the company and finding a resounding message, he felt a bit of hope. He followed his followers lead to their company website and sent in his resume.

After a bit of impatient waiting, he shot a message to his Twitter friend to ask if his resume had been received. He was a bit upset to find out it had not been. So while he sent in his second copy, his Twitter friend ran to the office of the person who received resumes to make sure it went through. This time it did, and thereby began his relationship with his current company.

He learned an interesting thing after being hired. Many companies now search out the social media input of future prospective employees. Although Kevin’s rants had been lighthearted and nowhere offensive in nature, you may now have an idea of how a negative social media influence or character, may have prevented one more opportunity, and likely with Kevin none-the-wiser. However, the hiring manager did say that having interacted with Kevin over Twitter for months before hiring him, also made it feel a lot more like hiring a friend than a literal stranger.

The Jury is Out

Actually, they are just about to be sequestered in the case of Casey Anthony, a Florida mother who is charged with the murder of her young daughter. Heard about it? Most people have. Although the story itself would have certainly drawn national media attention, the fact that almost three years later the case, and the discussion of it, is still carried on daily on sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, as well as full emotionally charged discussions on just about every news post since the story began, has been an ever-present cause of concern for Anthony’s legal team.

Although it is certainly unlikely to be the last case in which the line of questioning for potential jurors include such queries as:

  1. Do you use YouTube?
  2. Do you have a Facebook account? Do you ever post status updates?

The Anthony case has been a virally charged one from the start, but any potential alteration in the flow of the court hearing due to social media interruptions such as jurors posting Facebook statuses or tweeting opinions on this case is unlikely. Because of the large investment the state of Florida has in this case, many aim to see that social media does not enter into the courtroom, at least not without permission. It seems that most understand how one slight slip may cause justice to lose on a technicality once again.

Has this Changed Our Human Make-up?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your glass-half-full/half-empty outlook, people haven’t changed entirely that much. Even before base media such as radio and television, people still wanted to be heard, to share their messages, and their stories. They just did so in books, magazines, and newsprint.

If you could remove the chatter and noise of our 21st century culture, you may also find that marketing and advertising hasn’t changed all that much either.  What has changed is how we are exposed to them. Obviously, from the previous stories, we also know that social media and its resulting benefits or its detriments are almost entirely up to us. So while social media certainly hasn’t changed the fact that we want to succeed, make our marks, and leave the world a better place for our children, it has certainly changed the format in which we have the voice to do so, each and every one of us.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Comments

  1. I read this article after finding it through scoop.it for a project im doing on social media. I found this to be highly insightful, applicable and understandable to a large audience unlike a majority of posts throughout the internet that become overcomplicated, lack real life examples and talk on a higher level than the general audience can understand. I am thankful to come across your work like this!

    Yours thankfully
    Nik

    • Nik,
      Thanks so much for your kind words. This is the mission of dbmei, while we want to provide support to all levels we do our best to produce content that can help the everyday user and visitor understand our topics. In general we keep about 50% of the content intro, 20% Conferences, Events and Education, 10% Sites and Business Reviews, 10% Professional or People Spotlights and 10% Advanced Data and User Concepts.

      Basil

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