As most people on the internet know, Wheaton’s law is simple. Don’t be a dick.
This especially applies if your actions will have an effect on entities other than yourself.
Today I had a rather unfortunate exchange with someone who has “General manager of x social media company” in their twitter bio.
I offered them some assistance with an issue they were having and got a rather snappy/angry (all caps at one point) set of responses back to my genuine questions. I’m not going to name the person or the company as that isn’t what this post is about (and I’ve removed the tweets). It’s fine to be stressed in a bad situation, but reacting negatively to those who are trying to help is a bad idea. A simple “No thanks” is all that is required.
A number of people noticed this exchange and my comments about it and made comment to me either publicly or via DM. I received a few DMs from people saying that they either would definitely not be using that companies services after seeing the exchange or that they now had a very low opinion of the company and it’s services.
The point of the story is that even though “my tweets are my own” is implied or even specified, if you’re a senior level employee of a company, no matter what you say, how you behave on public social media will impact on the company. Covering your legal ass is not going to change public opinion. It does not matter how much you tell people how you act has nothing to do with who you work for. If you put the name of the company you work for in your twitter bio people will judge the company on how you act.
Of course this doesn’t only apply to employees of companies. Being a dick online will make people hate you really fast. It’s such a public forum and even if people are not replying to your tweets, they are seeing them, and remembering them. Don’t be that person that does it via DM either. People will call you out on it, and you’ll be seen in an even worse light….
I’m not saying I’m not a dick ever, because that would be a lie but when I’m on display for the entire world to see, I consider the image I am portraying.
OK rant over, I’ll leave you with Wil explaning Wheaton’s Law!