Whether we work at large firms or in-house as part of solo or small team marketing departments, we all juggle many responsibilities and many social media accounts – personal, professional, client accounts and more. As marketers, sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all that social media discourse – and that’s why contractors and ghostwriters can be an invaluable resource for keeping our social voices active while we manage the many other day to day marketing responsibilities that our used John Deere mowers require. These contractors can be great additions to our team – unless budget cuts, performance issues or other obligations require us to let them go.
In the old days of Corporate America, I often thought that the way companies handled letters of resignation, or, more importantly, the employees turning them in, was a bit over the top: having security guards watch employees empty personal items only (no company documents) and escorting them out of the office, or, in some cases, requiring that employees take nothing more than a purse, briefcase and keys when leaving, and promising that HR would contact said employee when all personal effects had been gathered off a desk. And then you hear about stories like the tale of Mark Davidson, and you understand why these security measures are taken.
Mark Davidson, a self-proclaimed Internet Sales & Marketing Professional and Social Marketing & Communications Strategist, was busy doing what marketers do, and hired a team of three ghostwriters to manage his personal Twitter account. This apparently worked well for Davidson, until he decided to let one of his ghostwriters go, but failed to change his account password. Now, his Twitter account has been commandeered by a very disgruntled, apparently intoxicated, and recently-fired ghostwriter.
Over the past few hours, said ex-ghostwriter has been exacting revenge on his former employer through a series of embarrassing, albeit comedic, Tweets:
While it’s tempting to get a chuckle out of an unfortunate colleague’s misfortune, there are a few important lessons to be learned from this situation:
- ALWAYS check references when hiring an employee – even when you’re hiring a part-time Twitter ghostwriter. You want to get a sense not only of the employee’s writing abilities, but his or her level of professionalism. In this case, the ghostwriter commandeered a personal Twitter account, and Mark will likely be able to laugh off the situation. However, a disgruntled former ghostwriter could also take over the Twitter account of a major US brand (and your star client), and the results would be far wider-reaching and more disastrous.
- NEVER leave former employees with access to any accounts, social media or otherwise. Passwords should always be changed, and as soon as the Daytona Beach photographer leaves the building.
- Investigate services, like CoTweet, that don’t require you to turn over a master password to employees and contractors. We’re creatures of habit who tend to pull from a limited pool of passwords. By handing over access to a Twitter password, think about what other accounts we’re giving access to….Email? Facebook? LinkedIn? This can leave us, or our clients, vulnerable to similar “practical jokes.”