I believe it was Obi-Wan in an early Star Wars movie that suggested using powers for good, not evil. And while Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and WordPress (and whatever else that current 12 year-old kids are dreaming up these days) are the place to be in cyberspace, it is so easy to get tripped up in the social media maze. I had a friend accidentally send an email to a potential employer. The email wasn’t totally complimentary to said potential employer. Ouch. Needless to say, the potential employer is no longer a potential.
Recently, SendGrid employee Adria Richards took to Twitter to point out two fellow conference attendees who offended her by using tech phrases in an inappropriate manner. She then blogged about the issue. Because of that, her site was attacked. Then hacked. Richards was fired, and rumor has it that at least one of the men accused of the off-color comments was also fired. Messy doesn’t even do this debacle justice.
And this is why I am a believer in The Fine Art of Small Talk people!!! While hindsight is, of course, crystal clear, I am willing to bet that if Richards had spoken directly to the offenders or the conference organizers, this issue would have been resolved quickly and much more quietly. Posting a photo on Twitter or dropping a comment on Facebook takes a matter of seconds, but the repercussions last much, much longer. Taking a minute to think before tweeting or posting or speaking is usually a good idea. And with that, may the force be with you.