My take on the story of “Chris”

A recent post on details the story of “Chris” who was recently demoted for some of his Twitter posts that his company’s loss prevention department apparently took exception to. It is unfortunately very scarce on details, so there’s not much for me to comment on.

I find it difficult for a company–especially the loss prevention department–to find anything to really take exception to anything that can be said on Twitter short of “wow, I hope this million-dollar embezzlement goes down smoothly, then I can book the plane to Hawaii and leave this %$*@# dump,” leaking trade secrets, or financial info for a privately held company. Something tells me it’s not any of these kind of things.

Usually, it is obvious the rank-and-file employees of a company speak for themselves. Now if “Chris” is the PR or marketing guy, or high up enough in the company to have some kind of chief officer position, the rules change a bit. Usually the CEO/CFO/COO/etc are responsible to at least the shareholders for a publicly held company.

I’ve known of at least one friend who has had e-mails taken out of context and construed to mean something entirely different, and was fired for it. Thankfully he bounced back in the months after that incident. And this was back in 2002, long before Twitter and Facebook.

This company, whoever they are, could have handled this much better. Instead of taking a “submarine” monitoring approach, they should have worked with “Chris” so that this never would have had to happen. I certainly would like to know who this company is, and if the circumstances are what I think they are it will be tempting to boycott them.