If you stay abreast of social media happenings at all, you may have heard about the recent public argument between director Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines that occurred on Twitter. If you don’t hound Twitter (or you missed it), here’s the short version: Kevin Smith got kicked off a Southwest flight due to size restrictions and took his complaints to Twitter. Southwest responded on Twitter and on their blog.
Personally, I have no dog in that fight and am making no comment here about how either party handled themselves. What I do find interesting, however, is how one uninvolved employee of Southwest Airlines responded to a satirical blog post about the incident - and used his employer’s name to identify himself.
My friend Angie wrote a humorous little post about what it might have been like to be the person responsible for manning the Southwest twitter account during this PR nightmare. Shortly after the post went live, a Southwest Airlines employee commented - and he let it be known that he didn’t appreciate the joke.
He accused the blogger of making defamatory statements (which she didn’t). He accused Kevin Smith of having “the argument skills of a high-school freshman” (which he might). He got into a verbal debate with other commenters.
And he did it all under the flag of being “an employee, but not an official spokesperson”, for Southwest Airlines.
Reading this person’s commentary, I couldn’t help but think “dude, you are just asking to get fired.” Because whether he clarified that he isn’t an official spokesperson or not, the problem I see is that he was still representing Southwest Airlines.
I’m not sure what the airline’s policy is - but I’m almost positive that any one of my bosses would be ticked to see me using the company name in an online cat fight. And I work for several online companies. I write here about working - and never once mention the name of the people or places who sign my checks, mostly because I’d like to continue getting said checks.
I’ve seen people talk about at least one of the companies I work for online. I’ve never added my personal opinion to the conversation, just to be safe. Because I don’t work in PR, I figure it’s not my responsibility to manage the images of the companies I work for.
This just seems like common sense to me. What about you?
Would you publicly defend the company you work for? Do you discuss your job in detail online, using company or employee names?
Photo by respres