A short article on the mindset of social network users

As an avid (a bit too avid, sometimes) user of social networks, I often wonder about the state of people’s minds when they post or publish what they write. I must confess here that I was once sacked, but reinstated, for something I wrote about the God-awful company I worked for.

My state of mind, at the time, was not good: I had recently been off work for two weeks with a bad back, caused by the company’s legendary piss-poor maintenance of their vehicles that I drove for a living.
Upon returning to work for three days, on all three days I suffered a mechanical breakdown and had to wait ages for Company Engineers to arrive and either fix the problem or send-out a replacement vehicle. I was still on Tramadol painkillers and had taken one the evening before, after my usual cut-off time of eight pm. I awoke at about six am the next morning, and immediately reached for the Blackberry and began tapping a mild critique of The Company and published it on Facebook. Even though my mind was still a bit, er, agog, I can’t really blame the drug for typing-out and posting what I really thought about the Company; I’m writing this now, having taken one of these mind-bending painkilling pills at midnight, last night.
I bet you can guess what happened a few days later: I was suspended; a few days later I was sacked, for GROSS Misconduct; still sacked after Appeal; then reinstated, somehow, at Final Appeal.
To this day I do not know what the Regional Union Rep said to the Company Managing Director to convince him to overturn the Staff Manager’s decision to dismiss and Operation Manager’s decision to uphold the Dismissal. The Regional Union Rep could talk the hind-legs off a donkey, that I did know. The looks on the Manager’s faces, when they heard I’d been reinstated, were pictures to behold: they turned from shock, then to resignation (that their best shot was not good enough), then to anger, then to determination to get their own back (their revenge, which they would surely, and professionally, ACHIEVE, or die trying).

We’ve probably all heard of similar cases where staff have been sacked for posting something about the company they work for, or the boss, or a customer, but here’s the catch: the Company expect you to behave in a professional manner at all times when representing them! As professionals, then, we must take on board criticism in a professional manner, ie without offence or grudge, but some companies don’t/can’t. Because their pride has been broken, they have to seek revenge and make an example of their critics, by “disciplinary procedure“, and/or dismissal. Thus, the Company behaves in an unprofessional manner. They can’t let bygones be bygones until they get their pound of flesh and can snigger, drunk with power, when their culprit has been sacked.

Out of the two main social networks, I personally prefer Twitter: the people, the points and subjects of debate are, usually, far more intelligent than it’s Chav cousin, Facebook. On Twitter you can follow any of the intelligentsia, your favourite sports team, find excellent media links, and make comment on any subject you are interested in, usually without reproach. You can get the occasional abuse from somebody who cares a little too much, but that’s the price of democracy: every idiot can espouse their half-baked philosophy; even me!

One case in point comes to mind: I once posted a joke to comedian Jack D(ee), who Retweeted it on his Twitter account; I was then messaged with all sorts of abuse that I was a plagiarist! Unbeknownst to me, a comedian had uttered the joke on tv the evening before, when I was down the pub. So, yes, I suppose I was a plagiarist, but only of a joke texted to me by a friend, that morning. When I apologised and explained the circumstances, I was called a liar.

As you have read, I am not exactly sane when it comes to posting on social networks, but I’m an individual, independent thinking guy who is not stuck in the same mindset as many of the people I know or chat with on-line.

I need to get out more.

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