Tweeting Yourself Out of a Job – ‘Cisco Fatty’ Style


Social media can do wonderful things for your career. Look at all those stories of people getting job offers based on their tweets.  In fact, some companies request that their sales professionals have a specific number of followers on Twitter. Of course, the assumption here is that they could spread the word on their product or service through Twitter.

Now, I’m a big fan of networking and sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter help your career progress. It allows you to reach contacts you normally would not have been able to find.

BUT if you’re not careful, social media can ruin your career.

With so many cautionary tales, one in particular caught my eye. It’s the story of Connor Riley, a graduate student at University of California, Berkley working on a master’s degree in Information Technology – now famous for what is being called “The Cisco Fatty”.

After receiving a job offer with Cisco, she tweeted this:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

She immediately received a reply from a Cisco employee saying:

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.”

The hiring manager replied to the above tweet … and he was kind enough to include his name.

Needless to say, she didn’t get the job, which was actually a summer internship. Although she has now protected her tweets, Riley posted an explanation of the situation on her website stating, “There are growing tensions around Twitter specifically; it’s too public, it’s too easy to use”.

Nothing is really private in social media

She was sharing the news with a small circle of friends on her Twitter page. Having not established any privacy settings on her account, her tweet became the equivalent of buying a billboard outside the hiring manager office.

This just goes to show you the power of these sites. Because of its informal approach, Twitter is often mistaken for something that only friends or followers enjoy. Twitter is not like email or IM. Although most of what you tweet will not get a reaction, don’t get too comfortable thinking nobody cares, because people are still reading. Tweets are very public

You have no idea who is reading your tweets. It could be your old college roommate or the CEO of the company where you’ve had your third interview.

Moral of the story – if you don’t have any privacy settings on social media networking sites, be very careful what you say.

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