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Bill Gillies - Editor

Conner Riley gives her version of events

Finally someone has spoken to Connor Riley about her dustup with Cisco via Twitter.

Riley gained fame when she tweeted last week that: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

The tweet caught the attention of Tim Levad, a Cisco channel partner advocate.  He replied: “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Ouch! Riley had failed to configure Twitter so that her tweets were for her followers only. (Even if she had, it was a dumb thing to say online.)

According to the blogosphere, Cisco pulled the job offer, but Riley now says that was not the case.  She told news site yesterday that she declined the job before posting the comment on Twitter, saying her story has been distorted by bloggers and the media.

“The ‘job’ I ‘lost’ was merely a summer internship I declined before I even tweeted about it,” she said in an email. “Any information you have pulled from other sources has largely been made up by bloggers.”

So the fallout was not as bad as many had speculated, but nevertheless the lesson is the same:  It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason – anything you say online can bounce around the global blogosphere within minutes and will stay there for the rest of your life.

Conner’s ill-advised remarks are reminiscent of those of senior employee James Andrews of the New York based ad agency Ketchum who earlier this year tweeted:  “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say “I would die if I had to live here!”  He was in Memphis preparing to speak to a FedEx company meeting on digital media.  A FedEx staffer realized he was talking about the company’s home town. FedEx, founded by Memphian Frederick W. Smith, employs about 33,000 employees in the city. The FedEx employee crafted a withering response that was copied to the senior management at both FedEx and Ketchum.  Read the response here. Andrews was not fired.

Digital technologies blur the line between our work and personal lives.  We check Facebook while at the office and the boss emails our Blackberries evenings and weekends.  It is easy to get sloppy and become far less vigilant about what one is doing online than one should be.

In her defence, Riley told CP24 that all of her Twitter followers are her friends, and she was posting with the expectation that they would be the only people to care about her posts.

“Let me tell you about how I use Twitter: I have 45 friends. I know all of them. They know me. 95% of them have lived in a dorm or a house with me. I practically can’t offend them, although sometimes I try.”

Riley says she believes the story has received so much play in the press because many people are still new to Twitter and looking for insight into the implications of using the service.

“People are tense because no one really knows what it means to tweet yet, what ripples Twitter will leave in our lives in the long term.”

In the interim, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t tweet.

Tags: Brand, Work


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