The Case of The Revenge Tweet: When Employee Outrage Goes Viral In A Social Media World


Yesterday, struggling UK music retailer HMV announced plans to lay off 190 employees. In the midst of their house-cleaning, they forgot was that some of their employees still had access to their corporate Twitter page, and they immediately tweeted their outrage for a full 30 minutes:


Unfortunately, their corporate marketing department wasn’t able to change their password fast enough:


So why does this matter in the long run? The HMV case stands out since their corporate Twitter account is broadcast to over 60,000 followers. What is really noteworthy is that this seems to be part of a larger trend in which disgruntled employees who have just gotten the axe are taking to social media for their final kiss-off.

Google’s former engineering director, James Whitaker, blogged about his last months at his job “as a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back.” Sallie Krawcheck, once the most powerful woman of the banking world, tweeted “More on the theme of big bank complexity: not Too Big to Fail, but Too Complex to Exist?” when she was ousted from Bank of America.

So should sending out a revenge tweet after your boss sacks you be the default recourse for angry employees? Being fired can be deeply emotional and while you’re feeling a knee jerk reaction to spill all the dirty office secrets, remember the 2-2-2 rule: how will that angry tweet affect you in two days, two months, and two years?

After Aaron Brown was fired as a CNN anchor, he was quoted in the Huffington Post as saying “I didn’t think the viewers were behind me when we did dumb television.” He later regretfully reflected about his CNN jabs, “I clearly took a pop at CNN, there was no higher purpose there. When I thought about it, that’s not how I wanted to be.”

In every job you still have the option to control how you want to remember your last day, whether it’s a forced resignation or a voluntary one. Try not to burn all your bridges; you might need some of them for future interviews/references. Who wants to give a good recommendation for that crazy hothead who blasted their workplace?

 By Courtney Lee