Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Big Brother

I hate to be the weird depressed blogger who brings everybody down in a state of anguished anxiety, but...

Something happened today that really pissed me off.

I was minding my own business at work when my coworker, a reporter in his late 40s, stood up and cleared his throat. I noticed that he had a Microsoft Word document open on his computer, with my name written near the top.

"I would like to have everyone's attention," he said. "I have been keeping a log of all of Jennifer's status updates on Twitter. And there is one I would like to read right now. Two weeks ago, Jennifer wrote 'haha I am still hung over from drinking with the girls last night. Haha.' Now what kind of message is Jennifer sending?"

I started laughing because I thought he was joking. My editor laughed too. He follows me on Twitter and often teases me about my status updates.

But the reporter turned and gave me a look that was so icy, I stopped laughing immediately.

"This is extremely serious, Jennifer," he said. "What kind of message are you sending?"

His close friend, a 57-year-old business editor, slammed his notebook down on his desk and glared at me. His face was extremely red and he was shaking. He walked up to me and pointed his finger at me, his face filled with rage.


The newsroom got silent.

My mouth dropped open and my face turned dark red. I felt tears in the corner of my eyes. Um, what the fuck?


My coworker, enjoying the ruckus he had caused, looked at me and smirked. And then he quickly looked concerned.

"Jennifer, if I were an employer, and I looked at you twitter account and saw this comment about being hungover, there is no way I would hire you. Absolutely no way. Getting drunk is disgusting. It's not the type of employee people want at their company."

I was just so stunned, I just stood there with my mouth open. No words would emerge.

I am a 26-year-old woman. I drink. I put it occasionally on my facebook and twitter. The last time I checked, that was not illegal or inappropriate. And if a company does not want to hire someone for having a normal status update like that on their personal twitter, then that is not a company I want to be a part of.

I should have said that to my two coworkers. But I couldn't. I was just too stunned.

My editor, also stunned and shaken because his status updates are worse than mine, tried to come to my defense.

"I think the greater question is why are you keeping a log of Jennifer's status updates?" he asked the reporter. "Are you cyber stalking her?"

But the question went ignored.

And my head has been reeling ever since.

First, I always keep my status updates on facebook and twitter to something I wouldn't mind my boss seeing. He follows me on both. He comments occasionally. I truly do not believe that saying I was hungover in a status update is inappropriate. Especially since my twitter and facebook are not in my full name. People I interview and my readers will never find them. And even if they did, they should hardly be surprised that I am a normal human being.

Second, my editor raised a VERY good point. Why is this reporter keeping a log of my status updates? How long has he been doing it? What is the point? To humiliate me randomly, like he did today? It really gives me chills to think about it. This is a reporter who I, up until today, got along with pretty well. He was always nice to me, although we don't really speak that often. His attack on me today was completely out of nowhere.

Also, for that business editor to say that journalists should be banned from two of the biggest forms of communication online is absolutely absurd. It makes no sense.

And finally, it made me realize how careful we all need to be these days concerning the Internet. There are people watching your every move. Employers do use facebook and twitter to size up job candidates. I've been aware of that since college. Be careful what you say because you never know who is looking.

I have since made my twitter updates private. I'm not going to erase any of my statuses because I don't believe I did anything wrong. Plus, my editor, the one whose opinion really matters, doesn't think I did anything wrong.

I'm just horrified that I was humiliated in such a mean fashion in front of all my coworkers.

And I'm a little scared of that reporter now and what other things he is possibly writing down about me...


ash said...

I understand keeping things private from social networking sites for employment reasons but that reporter has some vendetta against you, has to!

sorry to hear this happen to you girl. it'll blow over and you can throw something in that persons face sooner or later.

xo ash

Aquiles Damiron-Alcantara said...

WOW!!! This is horrible Jennifer. I feel terrible for you. And to think that this is a grown up, professional man. I think it is unprofessional to call out a co-worker in front of an entire office. If he had a problem with your twitts, he should have called you aside and let you know his opinion. What a shame; how pathetic.

You are the bigger person here. That guy is a total ass.

I hope this does not bring you down too much. Simply remember that if anyone should feel bad for being inappropriate is THAT reporter and not you.

I sincerely wish you the best,

Imogen said...

Wow, I cannot believe this happened I am totally shocked. I think that these peoples behaviour is way more inappropriate than yours. I think what you did was totally normal, something which many people would do and I think the process of humiliating you was more of a shame to the newspaper and the way things are run. Of course I dont know how professional/unprofessional it is so I dont want to judge but that way of dealing with it seems totally out of line. I have been aware for awhile that employees can look at facebook to determine individual character but I think that when you are in trouble for doing something this minor then it is not fair and the two should be kept separate and suitability for the job should be independent. I am also amazed at why a log of your tweets was being kept too. Anyway Im sorry this happened. I don't think you did anything wrong but I know how frustrating it can be when these things happen through no fault of your own. By the way my user name on Polyvore is tia_cherie

Treacle said...

What. The. Fuck.

First of all, I am so sorry you had to deal with this today. The way he went about it is entirely wrong and completely unprofessional. I wouldn't hire anyone who got their kicks from humiliating employees in public, but that's just me.

Second, I echo your co-workers this guy stalking you? If so, are there channels you can through (like HR) to talk to them about it?

Finally, I completely understand why you made your Twitter updates private. I'm just sorry so many bad things are happening to you all at once. I hope it turns around soon.

*hugs if you want them*

yiqin; said...

OMG so scary. This is why I got so scared when I know got some people in my school reads my twitter..

Amelia is... said...

I got in trouble a couple of years ago for something written on facebook. The ridiculous part of it was that my facebook profile is private to everyone but my friends - and I only worked with a couple of those. It turned out that it was brought up by a fellow staff member and ever since then any trust has been completely lost. I think it is sad when people you respect in a working environment can be so vicious. I hope your week improves! x

Leia said...

Omg... this is ridiculous. That man needs to get a life. Seriously, why is he cyber stalking you?? I'm glad your editor came to your defense, though. I'm so sorry about this. :\

AudreyAllure said...

that really is creepy that he has been keeping a log of your updates. i also have my twitter under audrey allure and not by my real last name; but as of lately i've been really careful of what i post.

on the good side, at least your editor is on your side :)

Barry said...

I don't know if you guys have an HR department on-site but if it were me I'd go after this asshole. Not that what you do in your private life is any of his business, but if he has a problem with what you're doing OUTSIDE OF WORK he should have come to you privately.

Bringing this up in front of co-workers, especially in the manner he did, is harassment. Logging your activities in your personal life is to me, if not an invasion of privacy, then certainly a form of cyber-stalking.

This guy needs a serious attitude adjustment, if not in the parking lot then through 'proper channels'.



Melanie's Randomness said...

Okay I'm right with ya with the What the hell is he doing keeping a log of your statuses? Is he doing that for everyone? I know in jobs there are what they call "spies" but I think this is absolutely ridicolious. Like not one of them as ever come to work a lil hungover? Geez. I'd be absolutely stunned too & not know what to say. I think that's really unfair that they chastized just you. This month has not been the greatest month all around. It's okay to do posts like this. I think it makes us more human & I think people need to know that not everyday is picnic. I don't wanna say be careful around this guy but I would keep an eye out for him. *hugs* Feel better hun.

Rachel said...

I'm so sorry that something like that happened to you, Jennifer. I don't think it was right of the reporter to bring something like that up in front of everyone at your work. Plus, it's incredibly weird that he would be keeping a log of your updates like that.

As you said, it is very important to consider the things one puts on the Internet. It's something I have always been careful about. For years now I have heard of people losing jobs or not getting jobs simply because of photos or information posted online. A year or two ago I was watching the news and heard about someone being fired because of she posted pictures of her drinking on her Facebook. It's just something that everyone needs to be careful with. Everyone is going to take things differently. And no one wants to be hindered because of a few things that got posted on the Internet.

Hopefully you won't encounter another situation like this. It was really unfair for the reporter to attack you like that, especially considering I'm sure he hasn't been a perfect angel his entire life.

Nikosmommy said...

OMG. It's like something out of a bad movie.
Who would purposefully humiliate a fellow co-worker in front of their other co-workers for something so completely benign.
What a WHACK-JOB. Obviously not enough work to do? Sexual frustrations are manifesting? Or maybe he's just a total Douch B.
I too would be totally shaken. But they both can go F*CK themselves. As you say, you don't reveal your full name and YOUR editor takes no issue with your personal updates.
Moving along sweetie.....

Anonymous said...

What your sanctimonious colleague probably doesn't realize is that he isn't an Old Timey Groundbreaking Reporter with a press pass tucked into his fedora. He's just a jerk who works at a newspaper, and if he were on Twitter, no one would pay attention to him anyway.
It also illustrates how the entire newspaper industry hates and fears social networking and the entire internet, hoping that it will just go away instead of realizing how much potential it has for them if they'd just embrace it.
Hate hate hate.

MJ said...

That's such a shame - social networking sites should be a way of making friends, not losing them! I'm not sure how the law runs in the US but if your supervisor is senior to him I'm sure he could get a bollocking for harassment...

daisychain said...

Bloody hell girl,
what a situation. People with such attitudes as your bosses really wind me up.

Like you said, you are an adult, you can write what you want on your facebook/twitter...*sigh*

When I was at the newsroom they didn't care what we wrote on our PERSONAL pages,
and encouraged the usage for getting people on our side!

belle in arms said...

What a horrible behavior from your co-workers. Awful men..

Sherin said...

What a bunch of jerks!! If your editor doesn't mind whats on twitter, neither should this guy. I don't know what he was expecting, but its good to see your editor taking your side.

There is no big deal about going out and drinking, and then having it up as an update. Everyone does it!

Robin said...

That is intensely bizarre, and very creepy. I'd be furious! There is certainly nothing in the update you mentioned that's bad. What a weirdo.

OceanDreams said...

Oh boy, I am sorry this happened love, do you think this reporter is secretly jealous or has some hidden agenda to get back at you? He does not sound nice at all, really. I'm glad you set your twitter to private - I sometimes feel in the same boat, how much should I share on Twitter and Facebook? Usually I share the most on my blog because I have people in other networks that I am not sure how it would come across, but at the same time you should be free to be the person you are. XO!

Ess said...

Wow. Unbelievable. I would feel the same way you are if someone said that to me --at my workplace.

We definitely have to be careful what you put on your facebook accounts. I keep most of my facebook private and keep most people on a limited profile.

Good luck with everything else. Let's hope your co-workers gets a brain or grows up sometime soon. For a 40-yr old, its a very immature move.

btw thanks for stopping by my blog. :D

bryna said...

ugh, what a horrible day! keep your chin up!

Elaine said...

That is so ridiculous!!! I can't believe he did that.. He really blew up over nothing.

Some Girl said...

Some of the people you work with are so WEIRD, Jennifer! First that lady with the bake potato goes crazy. Then these two go crazy over a twitter update! WTF? You could write a book! Hahah

Sandy said...

I can't say any more than what's already been said. I'm in complete agreement with Barry. Karma will, eventually, get back him. The old cliche of "what goes around comes around" is totally true ...

On a happier note hunny, I left you an award on my "I've been awarded #1 post". You so deserve it!

Nina said...

Jennifer! I am too stunned to say anything ... but why was he checking on your updates? And by the looks of it, quite regularly?! Why was he so interested? And what was the purpose of that unprecedented confrontation, if not to humiliate you!? Gosh. I would've been the same, sweetie. I often get tongue tied in situations that I'm totally unprepared for. Be assured that there are deeper motives at play here, and ask for discernment?

I too am plagued by a similar, malicious act. I get daily nasty remarks on my blog from some "Anonymous" person. Unlike your co-worker, this one doesn't have the guts to confront me which is absolutely cowardly. She knows me personally; but I have no idea who she is.

People can be so shitty ...


Ann said...

What an incredibly ridiculous situation. (And what a *#%&$% jerk!)

I'm sorry this happened.

(Found you from "Getting Fit and Loving It". I'm so-o-o-o glad I found your blog)

Iva said...

I am so sorry Jennifer!! that is really so odd!!! I don't think you have anything to worry about though! Your personal accounts are your personal accounts and not your professional ones.... ;)

Cafe Fashionista said...

First, remember that your boss is on your side - the best thing possible in this situation. Second, is your boss the boss of the other people involved in this? Third, it appears that, instead of joining the so-called "taboo websites in which reporters should be banned from" (really now, why should reporters be banned from them??) they have decided to stalk the websites. I think that makes them far worse than any status update made regarding being hungover!!

Etrapar said...

God...that man is a little bit crazy...he should read all these comments, maybe he'll realize on what planet he lives ^.^
kisses darling
PS: keep doing your great job darling,

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

AudreyAllure said...

i've tagged you in an award! :)

Pop Champagne said...

eeeeek that is horrible! Personally I don't think that your private life should have any intervention with that you do for your job, unless you're a celebrity. But that's BS, it's not even like you were doing anything illegal. They need to chill. I hope it will get blown over soon *hugs*

Ela said...

Oh Jen, I hate that this is happening to you. WTheck is wrong with that guy??? Seriously, that reporter that's keeping a record on you, do be careful of him, that is just not right. If he was truly concerned, he should've discussed it with you in private. Clearly, he just wanted to ridicule you. I'm glad your editor came to your defense. I hope you're week has gone better since.

kpeach said...

ugh that guys sounds so creepy-can you black people on twitter and fb so he can't see you? I don't think you did anything wrong and this dude sucks xo

kpeach said...

I meant block people

Savvy Gal said...

OH my gosh, i am sorry sweetie. this is very unfortunate. I know what you mean, people are crazy!

Maria Confer said...

That reporter has to be some kind of lunatic.

Does your company have an HR department? Because that is harassment.

Lulu Letty

Sophia said...

How rude! If he was trying to impress his coworker, that is not the way to do it. He is totally cyber stalking you. Calling you out in front of the whole newsroom was so middle school. Normal employed humans still drink and everyone knows it. Just because you are employed doesn't mean you become a Virgin Mary. So sorry you had to go through that!


The Owl's Closet said...

omgosh, i agree, why is he keeping a log of ur status updates?? i dunno, it's a bit creepy at the same time. i'm so sorry, jennifer:( on top of that, it's extremely unprofessional to call u out in front of all your co-workers, especially his friend. they're both grown adults, the screaming and yelling is uncalled for in the work setting.

Sandy said...

Hey hunny ... check my most recent post ... I think it might make you smile :)
We're thinking of you ... I hope you're doing ok.

DiamondsandTulle said...

I just read this post and had to comment. wow - what an a--! It's people like that that make you fear being open and yourself. FB, Twitter, blogging - it's all such a fine line - but I stick to my daily quote "... "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss ...
Obviously, your boss didn't mind. We are all human, and I wouldn't want to work with someone who ' couldnt understand otherwise.

Nadia said...

what a jack a**. Girl I think its time for some revenge. You should like so stalk him like Taylor Swift stalks her friggin ex and maybe even freak him out One hour photo style ;)