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We’ve all seen the headlines: ‘Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less’ or, ‘Teen Fired for Calling Job ‘Boring’ on Facebook.’
In relation to the headlines, we’ve also seen the self-help articles: ‘10 Ways to Use Social Media Safely’ or, ‘How to Not Get Fired by Using Twitter.’
They sound far fetched and ridiculous, right? Guess again. Jobs across the country are continually making it a priority to maintain their current or future employees image by monitoring their social networking habits.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So, is it constitutional that people are being kicked out of the workplace for stating their opinions over social media?
Our forefathers, although blind to the creation of social media, boldly and clearly stated that every American has the right to say what they want to say, as long as it doesn’t diminish the image of another person or organization and follows the other amendments and current laws.
Social media outlets take communication to an entirely new level. At one point in time, people would have to wait until the next day for the newspaper to be on stands in order to find out if their favorite sports team won or how their stock performed the day before. Now, a simple “tweet” can tell you what you want to know, with only the slightest amount of energy exerted by the sender and receiver.
Social media is revolutionizing communication in a way that nobody could have ever predicted. It’s a common part of our daily routines that we can’t live without.
That being said, censoring what people say (vocally or written) is unacceptable. Opinionated drama and humor is the reason that social media has been so successful over the past decade.
There’s a fine line between putting down a person or organization and saying your job is boring. Harmless posts that are comedic and state an opinion should never result in job loss.
Yes, there are some cases in which the tweet, status, or blog post were completely unnecessary and vulgar and deserved disciplinary action. But, being fired for saying that your job is boring goes against our rights as American citizens.
So whether it’s a tweet or a status, all should be aware of the social media police that constantly monitor your page, patiently waiting for the words “boring” or “stupid” to be sent into cyberspace.