On July 7, CNN fired senior editor for Middle East Affairs, Octavia
Nasr, over a tweet. After 20 years with the American news channel one
mere sentence was her undoing: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed
Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah,” Nasr wrote on her Twitter account, adding
that Fadlallah, a Shiite cleric and one of the founding members of
Hezbollah, was “One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”

Nasr immediately found herself facing backlash and, according to the
New York Daily News (and a slew of other sources), backpedalled in a
blog post, in which she wrote, “Not the kind of life to be commenting
about in a brief tweet. It’s something I deeply regret,” then went on to
praise Fadlallah for his stance on “woman’s rights,” and for cautioning
men against abusing their wives.

But the damage was done and CNN fired her. With the statement that
“we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for
Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward.”

Nasr isn’t the first person to get canned over something posted online and she won’t be the last.

Last week, the Huffington Post had a list of tweets that got people
sacked. These include Connor Riley who, after being offered a job at
Cisco Systems, said in a tweet that she would hate the job but enjoy the
“fatty paycheck.” The Huffpo says that someone from Cisco stumbled
across her Twitter account and 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.” The story earned Riley the unfortunate
nickname “Cisco Fatty.”

Then there’s the famous story
of the facepalmingly stupid girl who posted a Facebook status update
about her “total pervy wanker” of a boss who was “always making me do
sh*t stuff just to p*ss me off. Wanker!”

The young woman had forgotten friending her boss on Facebook. Said
boss responded four hours later, informing her that a) he’s gay b) the
“sh*t stuff” she was complaining about was her JOB which c) she wasn’t
very good at and d) she was fired. Oh, the hilarity. Facebook privacy
settings will only save you if you are not an idiot.

The caution here applies to both on and offline behaviour. I always
try to behave as though someone I desperately want to impress is
watching. And I am successful about seven percent of the time.

Offline, you probably shouldn’t show off your knowledge of off-colour
hand gestures and let loose a string of expletives at that d[irt]bag
who almost ran you over on your bike. Sure, he might be wrong. He might
also be interviewing you for a job tomorrow.

Online, remember that there are no eradicable errors. Even the most
seemingly innocuous of Twitter posts or Facebook status updates can
offend someone. And you know what? This isn’t always fair. Sometimes the
other person is being completely irrational but that’s not going to
save your job/job opportunity. And that’s life. The moral of the story?
If there’s any question over whether you should post something, don’t.
And if there isn’t, ask yourself if there should be.

Among the other job-killing tweets posted on The Huffington Post:

David Le, a summer jobs contractor for the Washington D.C. Department
of Employment Services (DOES), was working to help youths in the D.C.
area of Anacostia. During this time, Le posted a string of tweets that
referred to Anacostia as a “ghetto” and boasted of slacking off on the
job. After Le was fired he set his Twitter feed to ‘private.’

Hung actress Jane Adams allegedly skipped out on a bill at Beverly
Hills restaurant and had her agent settle the tab the next day, after
which her waiter, Jon-Barrett Ingels complained on Twitter that he
didn’t even get a tip out of it. Adams apparently discovered the tweet
and came in to settle the $3 tip. She also complained to the management
and got him fired.

A female employee at a St. Louis non-profit organization was fired
after her boss discovered via Twitter that she had been maintaining a
secret sex blog. She apparently strictly separated her blog life from
her work life but her employer informed her, “We simply cannot risk any
possible link between our mission and the sort of photos and material
that you openly share with the online public. While I know you are a
good worker and an intelligent person, I hope you try to understand that
our employees are held to a different standard.”

See all “13 tweets that got people fired.”