The term “dooced” used to mean that you were fired for something that you put on your Blog or website. The term was coined by Blogger Heather Armstrong when she was fired for commenting about her work on her Blog, dooce.com. Today, getting dooced is nothing new. Employees are routinely getting fired for their Internet activities.
Case in point, cheer leading Coach Carlie Christine was discovered posing as one of Playboy’s Cyber Girls of the Week. The end result, Carlie is out job hunting. While some websites report that the revelation of Ms. Christine’s photographic pursuits occurred after some bitter teens were cut from the cheer leading team, that really does not matter. Nor does it really matter that the parents were upset or that, allegedly, the entire football team was aware of the pictures. The bottom line is this. We are no longer living in a time when the only people with an Internet connection are scientists and geeks with lifetime memberships in the United Federation of Planets (Live long and prosper). As a consequence, the likelihood that your Internet activities will be discovered has increased exponentially.
Let’s put aside what your mom may think about your conduct. The real issue for employees is what future employers may think about you based on what you post online. The next time you wax poetic on your Blog or upload pictures of yourself and your friends in an alcohol and cannabis induced stupor, you may want to give thought to what a prospective employer will read and/or see. Is it fair? Probably not. However, when you are applying for a job, your employer will take the time to Google you. In most instances, they will not be impressed with your ability to chug a 40 oz beer. I’m not telling you not to do your “social thing” but consider who will see your pictures. Remember, just because you set your account to private won’t stop one of your friends from copying and posting your embarrassing moments on their website. After that, the proverbial cat is out of the bag.
Don’t hide you head in the sand. Have a Blogging policy and advise your employees that you will consider conduct that may portray your company in a negative light as an offense that could result in termination. In that way, when you have to terminate someone, because of their conduct on the web, it will come as no surprise. I bet that Coach Christine did not make the connection between her pictures on web and her termination until it happened. By then it was too late. This has turned into a lose-lose situation. Ms. Christine has to find a new job and the school district is left looking for a new employee. A little communication may have avoided this entire issue.