Social media

Twitter can get you fired! Here's (more) proof

March 27, 2013 at 2:24 PM ET

http://fireme.l3s.uni-hannover.de/fireme.php
http://fireme.l3s.uni-hannover.de/fireme.php

Y'all know the stuff you post on social media get can get you fired, right? Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest ... well, probably Pinterest ... the platform doesn't matter. Your big dumb publicly viewable words are what counts. This may seem fairly obvious, but I ask because, despite all the years I've been writing about people getting social-media fired, SO MANY OF YOU KEEP POSTING STUFF THAT WILL GET YOU FIRED!

Looking for evidence of this? FireMe! provides a real-time list of public tweets that may double as firing offenses. New Scientist first wrote about the new system, developed by research team at Germany's University of Hanover. SPOILER ALERT: There is a lot of swearing.

The site sorts tweets from all over into categories: Haters ("They want to get fired..."), Horrible Bosses, Sexual Intercourses (sic) and Potential Killers.

One of the few Hater tweets that isn't lousy with expletives reads, "I don't think anyone realizes how much I hate my job." Well, maybe they do now!

Under Horrible Bosses, we have the funny offering (except to this dude's boss perhaps), "It's not that I hate my boss, it's just that he does not lend himself to being tolerable." The Sexual Intercourses tab (again, this is from Germany) contains the "f" word, used to abandon. And Potential Killers is a collection of people whose tweets would likely prove injurious to them if read aloud in a courtroom, mostly along the lines of, "Today might be the day where I shoot my boss."

You can even find out if your own tweets are crossing any lines, by adding your username (or someone else's) into the "Check Yourself" tool. You'll learn quickly what percent chance your tweets have of getting you fired. It may not be too scientific, but if you're scoring over 50 percent, you should probably be concerned.

As illuminating as FireMe! is, its algorithm is somewhat limited — seemingly centered around word combinations including "job," "hate," "boss," "kill" ... and of course, the "f" word. It doesn't have the sophistication to analyze a tweet that may not include those words, but is nevertheless detrimental to a Twitter user's particular job.

How about that 23-year-old high-school teacher in Aurora, Colo., who was placed administrative leave pending an investigation into the half-naked pics and pot-smoking boasts posted from her Twitter account. Would FireMe! have the wherewithal to warn her not to joke about having drugs on campus?

To be fair, FireMe! is in its development stages — it's really just a public-facing portion of a study in which participants who tweeted irresponsibly received a warning alert. "Can you imagine if your boss gets to know that you said: 'I hate my job so much'. You said that on Twitter and the whole world can see it!" read the message.

The whole world can see it! That bears repeating, as we ponder how easy it is for a temporary fit of rage to become a permanent statement thanks to an itchy Twitter finger. Scroll through the FireMe! tweets if you want a good laugh — and maybe some safe job-hating catharsis. Just remember, as we laugh about these ridiculous tweets, that this applies to us.

Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about the Internet. Overreact to her inconsequential nonsense on Twitterand/or Facebook.

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