For the last week, the Web's been all atwitter with the latest social media blunder committed by a job hunter. In case you're late to this online schadenfreude party, I'll quickly recap:
Job applicant announces on Twitter that she got a "fatty paycheck" offer with a Silicon Valley firm and in the same digital breath, disses the company, the commute and the gig.
An associate of the firm sees the trigger-happy applicant's Twitter comment and tweets back, "Who is the hiring manager? I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work."
Seemingly within minutes, the Twitterverse, blogosphere and media outlets from NPR to MSNBC take to rebroadcasting the gaffe ad nauseum, some to snark, most to remind eager job seekers that on Twitter, you can go from anonymous to a horse's ass in the blink of 140 characters.
This kind of viral notoriety might be enough to deter those looking for work from giving Twitter a whirl. But that would be a mistake.
You know all those articles and broadcasts you've been seeing lately about how Twitter can help you get hired? They're right.
Not only can Twitter bolster your professional network, but on this social media site, the padlocked gates of many an HR department are left unlocked.
"Twitter places every job seeker and hiring manager on the same plane," said Dan Schawbel, author of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success."
Instead of praying your resume gets plucked from some HR rep's e-mail slush pile, "you can penetrate the job market by messaging hiring managers directly through Twitter," Schawbel said.
Yes, there's more than one way to die a painfully public professional death on Twitter. But staying out of twouble isn't brain surgery. Avoid these Top 3 crimes against twitmanity and your reputation should be fine:
If you haven't guessed by now, most Twitter gaffes are the result of someone mistaking the site for their living room.
Lulled into a false sense of privacy, they start taking potshots at the hiring manager's toupee or the boss' breath -- only to learn that it really is a small World Wide Web after all.
Steve, a copy editor at a newspaper in the Greater Seattle area who declined to give his real name for this article, will attest to that.
"I've mocked my paper's online typos on Twitter and been chastised for it," Steve said in an e-mail.
"I went on a rant a month or so ago about our homonym-challenged reporters, some of whom -- despite having more than 20 years of daily newspapering -- clearly didn't know the difference between 'peak,' 'peek' and 'pique,' as well as between 'flair' and 'flare,'" he said.
He also poked fun at an intern who'd turned in a crime story that used the term "Oozy submachine gun."
Unfortunately for Steve, one of the half-dozen co-workers following him on Twitter copied one of his less-than-complimentary tweets into an e-mail and forwarded it around the newsroom.
When the message reached the boss, he "pulled me aside and made it clear that I shouldn't be publicly embarrassing my colleagues like that," Steve said.
"He was right, of course," Steve admitted. "I didn't understand the boomerang effect of Twitter before these incidents."