Person gets a job at Cisco. Person tweets that they’re not all that excited about job. Person gets tweeted back at by Cisco employee. Person does not get job.
Person then learns a lesson and shares it with others:
Should Tim Levad have backed off? Not necessarily; it was crass of me to say what I did and I take full responsibility for the stupidity of my action. Instead of blaming him, let me use him to illustrate what I have learned: Tim Levad and @timmylevad are two different people. @timmylevad is defined entirely by the number of people listening to it. But whatever @timmylevad says is backed up by the subtle persuasive knowledge that somewhere back there, Tim Levad the person is pulling the strings.
I don’t really mean to use Tim specifically in this allegory, but the point is that people with many Twitter followers can’t afford to be real people on Twitter. Tim Levad would probably never use Twitter to make a flippantly negative remark about his career, because he understands that @timmylevad is more of a mass-media channel than a human being.
It’s important to think about these things as you go about your daily life. How am I using Twitter, really? Do I have the service set up in the right way to support that? Am @I more of a mass-media channel than a human being? Do @I act as such?
I don’t entirely agree with the first point. Too much about how someone acts when observed or unobserved and assuming that Levad acts differently on his Twitter feed because of his audience. It’s a big assumption to make and one that exists more because the author is soul searching and excusing the content of their twitter feed after these events.
That said, the rest is valid in that Twitter or other social networks or even any place where you plop your name and reputation on the web is what you make of it. How you use it is a direct reflection of you and you can either define it or let it define you.
A good portion is also public, and so you are going to have to keep that in mind as you go about and use the services accordingly. But that doesn’t mean you have to change who you are to fit the public nature. You can be selective or say, screw it, I’m going to be me, consequences be damned. And maybe that’ll cost you a job.