It’s a daily occurrence in social media for people to post, criticize, threaten and conspire. The sweeping epidemic of negativity still surprises me, even though it shouldn’t and I wonder what motivates people to do it. Does anyone think about how leaving a permanent legacy of their name, photo and venom for everyone to see will affect their reputation? Last week I was involved in a dispute with a dog rescue in North Carolina. The rescue posted her version of events of course twisting details to garner sympathy. She then blocked me from posting remarks. As you can predict, I was barraged with a ton of hater posts.
Looking through a few of them, I was interested some of the more threatening posts. Who were these people who spewed hatred and their willingness to come after me? Usually the most damning posts come from Trolls, people with fake identities and live for the moment to damn others but not all. People who didn’t know me, would never meet me and I would never meet them swarming like locusts wanting to cause damage. A couple of guys post caught my eye. They were conspiring about different ways they could come after me. One suggested legal action initially, then the second started talking about “other ways” to bring me down. They debated a forced take down of my website, threats to my hosting provider, then other ways to take me down nudge, nudge, wink, wink. And one of them said they could help because of the work they do. They reminded me of two gorillas pounding their chests to assert their position as kings of the jungle.
I wondered who they were and clicked on their profiles. And what did I find? A Vice President of Citi Bank and a tech guy with insurance software provider QQ Solutions.
Ken Cronin’s FB profile tells me he works for Citi and his LinkedIn Profile lists his title as Vice President, Learning Technology and Architecture. I do a double take. What the heck is this guy doing getting involved and posting where he should not be? Most financial institutions have really strict social media policies and employee codes of conduct. In a nutshell they say that regardless of whether an employee is on company time or personal time they always represent the corporation. And nowhere is that more prevalent than with members of senior management. So here we have a Citi Vice President conspiring with another guy to try and force the take down of my website and implying that there are other ways to get at me. He is also taking a technology degree at present which may be funded by the bank. So is he using that bank funded education to hack or shame me? Interesting question on where the ethical boundaries lie in this situation. As I scrolled down the public portion of his Facebook page, I came across this post of his.
Now I see where Ken Cronin gets it….an inability to keep his comments to himself despite of where he works. There have been other bad taste social media posts that have cost people their jobs. The infamous Justine Sacco who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white! The PR firm Justine worked for fired her before she landed in Johannesburg.
Earlier this year stockbroker Rayhan Qadar was fired from the firm Hargreaves Lansdown who stated they found his comment unacceptable. Qadar tweeted ‘Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off lol’ Qadar was joking but his superiors didn’t find it funny at all.
Austin Rodden is much lower hanging fruit on his corporate family tree. The company he works for provides software for the insurance industry…hmmm a big portion of my clientele as well. What would they think about an employee of QQ Solutions thinking of taking tech revenge against a party they don’t know? In most cases it should raise the hackles of any client. If this is something he might do to a person he doesn’t know, how do we know a guy like him wouldn’t try to cause a client harm if his mood struck him that way?
When are we going to find our filters on social media? To think before we post, to mind our own business…or is that just not the nature of the beast? In so many ways it is great to that everybody has a voice. It serves to break down barriers, conquer geography and create communities. And then there is the sheer idiocy of the endless hatred and rants that never seem to end. As a friend of mine says “The Internet is like a woman, she never forgets and she never forgives”.
Think before you post: you may think you are clever but your company might not.