I blame the Internet

That’s right Twitter, YOU are the cause of all of our problems. You and all of your social network friends – yes Facebook I’m talking about you. Just look at some of the things that you social networks are responsible for…

1. The Internet makes people act stupid while on the job

Look, we all know that these silly social network-driven trends such as planking wouldn’t have caught on in the first place if it weren’t for irresponsible social networks allowing people to share pictures as evidence of their own unique brand of stupidity – like planking and lying down. Of course, these people would have otherwise been stellar employees who would never dream of goofing off on the job if it weren’t for the evils of Twitter and Facebook tempting them to create, try and create, or add to, a global trend of idiocy.

2. The Internet makes people make their boss look bad

Now that social media is here, brands naturally have to address it. Some may decide that their social network presence is not that important and task an intern with managing their accounts. Other, more savvy brands, will hire a specialist …and then fire them for causing them embarrassment.

Of course, this is nothing to do with the brand’s lack of social media policy, or training, or basic procedures set up to ensure people don’t tweet from the wrong account, or even the fact that they don’t have “Thou Shalt not post spoilers on the Internet” inked into their contracts. It’s everything to do with the toxic combination of human fallibility and the viral nature that mistakes take on thanks to social media spreading the contagion. Before you know it that small perk you give your team suddenly becomes the source of all of your company’s problems or that exorbitant pay packet you give your CEO takes on a vaguely indecent hue, and it’s all social media’s fault.

3. The Internet encourages disrespect of boss and customers alike

In ye olden days, I’m talking 1980’s here – you remember the time of Hilary Devey-esk shoulder pads and mobile phones the size of a small car – if the staff wanted to have a moan about their working conditions they would convene in a boozer after work and give the boss a proper slagging off. They would go home and call a friend to moan about how horrible their boss had been that day. These days they might go home and post about it on their Facebook wall – forgetting, of course, that they added their boss as a friend…

If it weren’t for social networks the employees opinion of their manager would stay private, or within a select group of family and friends. The Internet has forced these opinions into the public domain. Now the whole world can know what a horrible reputation you have, and if you do decide to take a stand and fire the employee, you could find yourself being sued. And losing.

When they’re not insulting management, they’re having a go at customers en masse and individually. Then they act surprised when the company fires them.

4. The Internet creates bullying of colleagues

Office gossip has now gone online. Petty disputes that may have previously raged via dirty looks, giving people the cold shoulder and snarky comments are now more succinctly put in text and online.

5. The Internet promotes insubordination

“It’s boring!” (or a sweary variance) is probably one of the top ten phrases used by teenagers when confronted with doing something they don’t want to do. So, is it really a surprise that a 16-year-old girl comes home from work and tells her Facebook friends that her job is boring? Of course it’s boring! She’s 16! It’s an office! She has to work! Booooring!

But, being 16 she clearly didn’t understand the workings of office politics and her Facebook friend co-workers told her bosses what she’d said – naturally she was fired. Had this happened in the Good Old Days she would have told her friends how boring her job was and gone on to keep it because chances are the boss would never have known.

It’s just a Platform, people…

Facebook, Twitter, BBM…any form of communication application via the Internet really – are just platforms for communication. Blaming these services for inciting or enabling anything from harmless planking to the serious outbreak of criminality that London has seen over the past week, is just as ridiculous as blaming the telephone for that call you just got from a heavy breather.

People have the potential to do incredibly stupid, self-destructive things, but social media and the Internet cannot be blamed for that. In fact, the same instant communication that is being blamed for the congregation of looters and arsonists, also enabled hundreds of people to get together and clean up the mess that their more Neanderthal brethren created.


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