An Australian recruiter using the twitter handle @exec_hunter this week unleashed a bizarre rant on radio host, writer and comedian Wendy Harmer.
Joe Waddington, managing partner of headhunting company Chamberlain Executive, tweeted insulting comments to Harmer, telling the radio personality that “there's a thing called plastic surgery”. Using the twitter handle that actually links to his company website, Waddington later deleted the tweets – but not before Harmer became aware of the comments.
The Brisbane-based executive search manager told News Limited that he is now ashamed to have made the comments, and that he had been drunk at the time. Harmer said she had been "astonished more than anything", commenting further, “it's remarkable. How can you expect to be well regarded professionally and carry on like that?”
The incident is a pertinent example of how immeasurable brand damage can be inflicted upon individuals and companies when social media is used with abandon.
Deloitte’s Aftershock: Adjusting to the new world of risk management report recognised social media’s standing as the fourth largest source of risk over the next three years, suggesting that the interconnected world of social media is one to which organisations must adjust. Online transactions are instantaneous, public and far more widespread than the sender often plans, leaving organisations open to potential breaches of confidentiality, financial disclosures and subject to rumours that can spread at an alarming rate. “Everybody is walking around with a smartphone, and things can be captured and digitised instantaneously. Once digitised, social media can spread information like wildfire,” Rick Kulevich, senior director ethics and compliance at CDW said in the report.
The absolute first port of call for HR is to have a constantly evolving social media policy. “Having a social media policy is not only a must, but until expectations of how to use it become commonly understood, employers should very regularly review their policy until the crinkles are ironed out,” Ellen Flint from Benetas previously wrote in HC.
Top tips for your Twitter conduct
The interactive nature of Twitter is one reason for its popularity as a social media platform, but it’s also easy to forget that your comments are public unless you’ve changed the privacy settings – if you only want to share content with certain friends or family members, you should change your profiled settings.
What’s more, while many people have headshots as their display picture, there is of course no requirement to do so.
Social media and personal branding polarises HR
Social media screening: tread carefully rather than not at all?
Five reasons not to block Facebook at work
Spotlight on social media policy Part I
Facebook firings part II: check your social media policies before it’s too late