Hooked Up On Twitter (A CAUTIONARY TALE)

Hooking Up On Twitter (A CAUTIONARY TALE)

by Jonathan Segal

on February 27, 2012

As published by SHRM’s We Know Next: www.weknownext.com

I begin this cautionary blog with a story. After the story, you’ll understand why I began the blog as I have.

I wrote an article on holiday parties for Business Week. I discussed the risks, including too much alcohol consumption and sexual harassment. Of course, the two often are connected.

Well, the article included a little sarcasm. Perhaps a little more than a little. So it was tweeted pretty heavily.

As you know, when people tweet, they can add their own message. As I learned later, one tweeter included the words party, alcohol and sexual. They forget the harassment. No Freudian miss there.

So one night I went to the movies and came home late (10 p.m. for me) and decided to go to bed without checking my e-mail. I try to do that twice a year to deceive myself into believing that I am mentally healthy.

The next morning, I logged on and noticed that I had many new Twitter followers. Twit that I am, I am very happy.

Until, I see the followers. They saw alcohol, sexual and party and were very interested.

But they were not interested in legal issues. They were selling sexual services, quite literally and explicitly.

I immediately sent messages: do not follow me. But I don’t think Candy Cane is a big reader.

So, now I decided it was time to ratchet things up. I copied my bio (hoping a big law firm would intimidate) and, to my delight, they went away. I would like to think that it was the law firm and not the fact my bio has a picture!

After cleaning this up, I learned of a very important twitter feature: block. And, when it comes to social media it is a critical tool… beyond responding to sex workers.

All too often people tweet or follow and think more is better. Not always.

Social media is a form of communication. And, at the risk of the obvious, it is a two way street.

Check your followers and make sure there is no one you do not want following you. I have advised clients to do this, and they have found among their followers piranhas masquerading as plaintiff’s lawyers. Block!

If you follow someone, read their tweets. If their tweets are offensive or unseemly, unfollow. I followed a reporter. I thought one of his tweets was sexist. Unfollow.

In social media, it is the quality of your relationships that counts, not the number of them.

Gotta go. Wrote a blog last month for WeKnowNext on Valentine’s Day called  “I Love You.” They’re back!


Jonathan Segal will speak at the SHRM 2012 Employment Law & Legislative Conference on Tough Love: What Your CEO Won’t Tell You About HR, But I Will and Inside the Mind of the State Rep. For more information, please click here.