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The number of people fired over social media gaffes is rising, and many employers look closely at a job candidate’s online presence before making a decision. Yes, social media can ruin your life.

According to a survey from CareerBuilder, 39% of employers dig into candidates on social sites, while 43% said they had found something that made them deep-six a candidate such as posting inappropriate photos or information or bad-mouthing a former boss. It’s not all bad news though. 19% of employers said they found information that sold them on a candidate, such as communication skills or a professional image.

When it comes to social media mistakes, Twitter is among the top three most popular, along with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

If you aren’t careful about the nature of what you are tweeting, it can have a devastatingly negative impact on your life, as the following 10 examples illustrate.

How Social Media Can Ruin Your Life

Connor Riley on Cisco

Twitter backlash on Connor Riley

Riley was offered a job at Cisco when she tweeted “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Cisco employees saw the tweet and suffice to say, Connor Riley never had to worry about that commute. Needless to say, don’t bad mouth a position before you accept it.

 Gabriella Pasqualotto on Fair Treatment of Cheerleaders

Gabriella Pasqualotto Cheerleader

Gabriella Pasqualotto, a cheerleader for several cricket teams went to Twitter to give details about how poorly the players treated the cheerleaders. This angered team owners and she was promptly fired. If you have human resources concerns, don’t go to Twitter with them. Go to Human Resources. If that doesn’t work, lawyer up.

 Rashard Mendenhall on Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Rashard Mendenhall Twitter Backlash

Even if Rashard Mendenhall’s intentions were good, his execution of this tweet following the death of Osama bin Laden didn’t sit too well with most Americans – “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…” It is smart to be prudent on tweeting out your political views, particularly when your fans, audience or clients may not hold the same views as yours.

Damian Goddard on Same-Sex Marriage

Social media backlash of Damian Goddard

Damian Goddard, a Toronto based sportscaster was fired after he posted some odd tweets about same-sex marriage that got him in hot water. Just like politics, your views on religion should stay out of the public eye.

Stephanie Rice – Homophobia

Stephanie Rice Twitter backlash

Australian Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice lost her sponsorship with Jaguar automobiles after she tweeted homophobic slurs in response to an Australian rugby victory over South Africa. When you act as a spokesmodel, you’re expected to represent your sponsors at all times – even when you’re on social media.

Larry Johnson – Homophobic Tweets

Larry Johnson Twitter Mishap

Larry Johnson found himself in quite a pickle after tweeting homophobic slurs and calling his head coach, Todd Haley out on Twitter. Shortly after, he was out of the NFL.

 Scott Bartosiewicz – Live Tweeting

Scott Bartosiewicz Twitter mishap

Scott Bartosiewicz was fired for a simple misunderstanding. He worked as a social media strategist for Chrysler and accidentally tweeted profane language via their account when he meant to do it from his personal account. Why it is a great idea to use a social media scheduling tool like Socialdraft.

Gilbert Gottfried – Aflac

Gilbert Gottfried Gets Fired After Twitter Post

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired from voicing the Aflac duck after he tweeted insensitive jokes in the wake of the Japanese tsunami. While it hasn’t ruined his comedy career, you will no longer hear his voice when watching Aflac commercials.

 Nicole Crowther – Tweeting Spoilers

Nicole Crowther Gets Social Media Backlash

Nicole Crowther was an actress who worked on the set of Glee for a period of time before she started tweeting out plot spoilers. When show producers saw what she had done, they tweeted this to her, “Hope you’re qualified to do something besides work in entertainment.” Then she was fired. Keep trade secrets – secret.

Anthony Weiner’s Weiner…

Anthony Weiner doesn't know social media etiquette

How could anyone forget Anthony Weiner? The man made legendary by his Twitter fiasco can never be forgotten. He tweeted lewd pictures of himself to his followers and has basically become the laughingstock of the political world.

How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably savvier than the people above and you’ll need a great tool to manage your social media presence. Socialdraft is your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to:

  • Schedule posts to multiple Social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram
  • Schedule posts individually or in bulk via CSV
  • Have multiple people create and post content
  • Give different people access to different accounts
  • Give different people permissions
  • Set up clients as guests who can see only their content
  • Pull Reports
  • Engage
  • and much more

If you’re curious about how Socialdraft works, take us for a risk-free trial.

A classic example of the power social media wields over businesses involves an incident with the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York. Recent media coverage revealed that the hotel fines couples $500 for every negative review posted any where online by one of their guests.

Since a negative review on websites like Yelp could possibly cause permanent damage to a business, even if the customer review is unfair and lacks objectivity, the Union Street Guest House reasoned that the best way to keep negative reviews off Yelp and other sites was to simply fine guests $500 for writing a bad review. The hotel claimed they would will also fine you $500 if you’re staying there to attend a wedding at another venue, but leave a negative review about your stay.

The hotel included the following policy on its website, which has since been removed:

“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not. If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event […] and given us a deposit of any kind […] there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review […] placed on any Internet site by anyone in your party.”

And although the hotel agreed to refund the money if the negative review was taken offline, the Union Street Guest House’s Yelp page is currently full of one-star reviews for dreadful service and intimidation tactics.

One reviewer wrote: “I stayed here for a wedding in May. Let’s just say this was the worst experience I’ve ever had at a hotel… The staff rubbed both myself and my gf the wrong way with their unhelpful, rude and inhospitable manor. The bed felt lumpy and the rooms were way to hipster for my tastes. I ultimately had to sleep in a sleeping bag to avoid the lumps. Heck I would have had a better experience if I just camped out on the lawn outside. The worst part, however, was the ‘hotel’ policy about reviews. So in an effort to ensure that the bride and groom (whom are two of my best friends) don’t get charged I felt it best to whip out my rarely used 2nd yelp account.”

Yelp Bad Reviews

Since the media backlash, the Union Street Guest House quickly recanted their claim in a pathetic attempt at damage control. According to Ars Technica, the hotel posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”

But as Ars Technica points out, no amount of Facebook spin is going to fix the damage, which is now irreparable, and once the news leaked, the Union Street Guest House’s Yelp page became a war zone. Other businesses have also tried to repress bad reviews, but Ars notes the harder a business tries to crack down, the angrier the masses get.

“You’re In It Whether You Want To Be Or Not”

San Francisco chef Jeff Mason characterized the Yelp review situation this way — “You’re in it whether you want to be or not, and that’s what’s so frustrating.”

Calls placed by Ars to the Union Street Guest House’s main phone number went unanswered. As Lee Hutchinson, Senior Reviews Editor at Ars, so aptly explains:

“Even a minuscule number of negative reviews can have a disproportionately large detrimental effect on a business’s margins, and it’s easy to see why the Union Street Guest House might want to try to be proactive in preventing negative reviews from happening in the first place.”

But the Union Street Guest House clearly made a grave error in judgement by fining guests $500 for negative reviews, which can hardly be seen as “proactive.” It should be clear to anyone that the most appropriate proactive move on the hotel’s part would be to address and correct specific criticisms.

Yelp is as Much Savior as Antagonist

The irony is, as San Francisco Magazine’s Rebecca Flint Marx notes, that many restaurants also owe their success to sites like Yelp. “As Charles Bililies, the owner of Souvla, a modestly hip four-month-old souvlaki joint in Hayes Valley, says, ‘You want some feedback, but don’t want to necessarily empower people so they are controlling you.’ Psychologically, he says, ‘it’s a very, very fine line to walk.’”

How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts

Instead of resorting to scaring your guests and customers, begin to work on a strong social media and reputation monitoring strategy. For this you need Socialdraft, your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to:

Schedule posts to multiple Social media accounts
Have multiple people create and post content
Pull Reports
and much more
If you’re curious about how Socialdraft works, take us for a risk-free trial.