Over the holiday season, there were two big stories: one was Justine Sacco’s tweet above and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson’s interview with GQ on his beliefs and gays. For their actions, Sacco was fired by IAC before the holidays; and Phil was suspended, then A&E brought him back two weeks after getting suspended, and then the ratings weren’t as high as last season. In Sacco’s case, her last tweet (and her previous tweets), plus not able to delete the tweet while traveling for 12 hours, made her firing justifiable. In Phil’s case, we knew his history and it’s a reality show (hence a documentary), but A&E still suspended him because of the backlash from some fans and the ACLU. I’m not sure why you would suspend Phil by being himself. Anyway, there was a bigger disturbance from the story: the aftermath.
Although the immediate actions of both Sacco and Phil Robertson , the comments after people saw Sacco’s tweet and Robertson’s interview was interesting to say the least. There were people
asking demanding IAC and A&E to fire them and making fun of the situation. Here’s the thing: commenters also need to be in their best behavior.
If social media is still an issue with HR, then this amplifies the issue a lot. Yes, you can still comment anonymously, but for some, they want to get their name out there with their “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude. What if you made a comment using a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ login? People, especially your employees and maybe HR, could see that comment and they can do whatever you want. Remember, you are a brand ambassador for the company you work for 24/7. You’re tagged to that company until either side leaves. People can search for your username or your real name and can type any keyword and it will pop up in your search. Most of the commenters want to create a mutiny, but they have to tread carefully since their employer is watching.
This doesn’t mean the comments section is a death trap. The section is there to create dialogue and action, not narcissism. Anything is debatable, but you can use the comments section to give a reason or give examples why you have that point of view on the subject. You want to come out of the comments section, or any conversation, to be respected on the topic and people can follow-up on your comment. That is how you move forward, instead of screaming “Bloody Mary” when someone makes a mistake (if they made more than one mistake like Justine Sacco did, different story).
In a recruiting sense, the comments section is a very under-appreciated part since you have the name and location. If they’re talking about a certain field that you’re in, you might want to check it out and what their viewpoint is on the topic or current event. The comments section is supposed to open our minds on the subject. Why not take advantage of it. Just look at #GoingtoAfrica.
View the comments section not as a sounding board of one sentence opinions that make you feel like a know-it-all. View it as an essay/cover letter platform to share your view on the topic. You never know who will read your comment.