Local reports state that the unnamed employee was dismissed by the Texas Rangers American Football team after tweeting “Fire Charlie” – a reference to the University of Texas team’s head coach – after a disappointing game for the side where it lost 50-7. Rather than sending the message from the employee’s personal account, it was instead sent from the Texas Rangers Twitter account and sent to over 620k followers.
Although quickly deleted, the post had been shared several times and soon caught the attention of other football fans and social media users. Despite the swift action, the employee is said to have been fired less than an hour later which was confirmed in an official statement by the team:
“The Texas Rangers wish to apologize to the University of Texas and its head football coach Charlie Strong for the very inappropriate and insensitive message that was briefly posted on the team’s twitter account this afternoon. The tweet was posted by a member of the team’s social media department who was neither working for the Rangers nor was at Globe Life Park today. Effective immediately, that individual is no longer employed by the Rangers. The Rangers sincerely regret this incident and have taken the appropriate measures to make certain it does not occur in the future.”
A simple mistake?
Perhaps this was an honest mistake, but it was a costly one nonetheless.
Delegating responsibility to employees to tweet or post on behalf of an organisation is a big step. Most businesses wouldn’t trust their customers or clients with junior employees until there is a confidence in their ability not to damage the relationship or potential relationship. The same thinking should be applied to social media. As the online store-front for a business, it is essential that it is managed carefully, monitored, moderated and protected.
As can be seen on this occasion, mistakes can and will be made. Organisations can take steps to minimise the risk of potential errors:
- Implement a social media policy that is practical, sensible and suitable for your organisation;
- Train employees in what is expected of them;
- Send frequent reminders and information as to what is (and isn’t) acceptable conduct online;
- Review output on social media;
- Take action when appropriate.
If you have any concerns about how your organisation or its employees are using social media or would like to discuss the opportunities it presents for your business, please get in touch.