US Airways has recently been in the news (and all over Twitter) for a mistake made by an employee responding to tweets from customers. The mistake resulted in a pornographic image being tweeted from the US Airways Twitter account to a customer. A knee-jerk reaction most companies would have is to immediately fire the employee because of the significant attention that the tweet received and the graphic nature of the content. US Airways has stated that they will not be terminating the employee as it was an honest mistake.
They definitely get a gold star for understanding how things work. (Gold stars are non-transferrable and have no cash value).
If you’re scratching your head at how someone can exercise such “gross negligence” and still keep their job, let’s look at the nature of the job of a social media administrator and how a mistake of this magnitude could have been made.
- Social media accounts are like any other content management system, except they’re much faster. A social media administrator spends the day replying to messages posted by the public in general, either apologising for something or engaging with them on a public platform.
- When a company has as many customers and as much online traffic as US Airways, the responses to most questions are pre-written and it is the administrator’s role to copy and paste them.
- Now think about how easy it would be when copying and pasting responses AND flagged inappropriate content, to accidentally copy and paste the wrong link into a tweet. It’s as easy as accidentally typing an A instead of an S.
When you finally understand exactly how easy it would be to make this mistake, you can’t really blame the individual who made it. Kudos to US Airways for standing up for their employees regardless of the amount of attention drawn to the mistake. They have stated that they are looking into their internal processes to make sure it doesn’t happen again, realizing that this was a procedural issue and not just an issue with an individual. To everyone looking for a termination because some people were offended by the image… If you are THAT concerned about accidentally stumbling across something inappropriate, you need to get off the internet.
About the Author
Scott Keenan is a Recruiter for Priority Personnel Inc., with several years’ experience recruiting in both the public and private sectors in addition to marketing and social media roles. As a self-described professional cynic, he provides unique insight into modern recruiting from both the recruiter and candidate’s perspective. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn