The Human Face of a Corporation

All jokes/discontented grumblings  about Citizens United aside, companies and organizations are people too, with souls and personalities all their own, or at least, that’s what a successful social media campaign is meant to convey.  The name of the game for social media these days seems to be: be genuine.

This is of course easier said then done – distilling a soul of a company into a Twitter account and Facebook page is no easy task.  After all, the question of what constitutes the soul and personality of a company or organization is complicated and there is more than one answer.  One answer could be for example, that the soul and personality of a company or organization is an amalgamation of its employees.  More and more a company’s lifeblood is a stream of its employees collective consciousness as represented by their social media accounts.

On the one hand, this can be a good thing, as is the case with Trust Agents example Robert Scoble whose blog garnered his company Microsoft a good deal of social capital and good will even though Scoble “talked smack” about the company.  In fact it was because Scoble was genuine and gave Microsoft such a human face that his actions resulted in a) success for Mircrosoft and b) hi not getting fired.

On the other hand, as this week’s readings in IST 686 illustrate, there are many, many counter examples.  Which raises the question: what happens when social media paints a human face on a company, but that face is not so pretty?

Example: Vodafone employee uses official account to tweet absurd homophobic message.

While this week’s readings covers a wide range of policy points a company would be wise to consider when reflecting on a social media policy, this week I wanted to focus on some real examples. The following URL will take you to 13 examples of people who were fired for tweets.



1) In your opinion are all/some of the firings justified?  If so, why and which ones?

2) If you were the company how might you deal with fall out from these tweets?


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