How To End Your Social Media Career

Or, possibly, “Why you should always check that the link you’re about to paste is still the one you think it is".

Boom. Yup, there goes your job. Quick, find someone else to blame. Failing that, get your coat and head for the door. A lot of commentators were surprised how long this post stayed online for after it was posted. Having worked in Social Customer Services, my guess would be this:

Their CS operative comes online and starts responding to tweets received since the end of the previous day. If there’s a catch-all Query form, he’d keep the link to this on his clipboard, and paste into each response tweet as needed (“Sorry to hear that, please contact <LINK>“; “Hi there! Thanks for letting us know! Please contact Customer Services here <LINK>“, etc.).

At some point during the day, the offending image will have been tweeted/posted/emailed to the company, our operative has seen it, copied the URL to clipboard and written an email to colleagues/friends/his dad saying something along the lines of ‘LOL, look what just arrived!’ and then gone back to responding to incoming tweets, forgetting to first replace the offending image URL with the correct CS form link.

Then, once that image was sent out in error, he’s gone on answering the backlog of tweets (or spreadsheets, browsing imgur, whatever) as no-one really checks the tweets once they’re sent out; we’re all far too busy.) Someone sees the mistake and, even if they tweeted immediately alerting CS to the offending image, it’s going to take a while for the operative to work through the backlog and get up to date. At which point, it’s time to shovel as many office supplies into his pockets as possible and head for the door.

The lesson? Proofreading doesn’t just mean checking for typos. If you’re including a link, make sure it goes where you want it to. Assumptions on this score can cost you your job. And imagine being asked ‘So, why did you leave your last job?’

(Originally posted on April 18, 2014)