Look Before You Leap. A tale of Social Media and an Olympic Jumper.

If you followed the 2012 Olympics, you know about the Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou. She was the one who made inappropriate comments on twitter that lost her the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. 

After this fiasco, she was quoted in the Toronto Sun saying, “What has upset me the most is the excessive reaction and speed of the disciplinary decision".  

I agree with her assessment.  

Wow!  It did happen quickly!  She is from Greece and in an ironic twist, it appears that the country that started the Olympic Games is maybe the first country to experience a taste of what the future impact of social media could be on the Olympics, and other large scale events. NBC already got a taste. If you go by the conversations on Twitter and the hashtag #NBCFail, the Olympics were a disaster for NBC.  Yet, NBC is also reporting the highest viewership numbers for any Summer Games in history.

How can that be?  That’s another blog post but the short answer is that social makes complaining easy, immediate and highly visible.  And that’s bad news for big brands and individuals that experience a slip-up.  It’s also creating a major headache for managers in the workplace as this Fortune magazine article discusses: Our new place to complain about the boss: Everywhere! 

And we are just starting to realize the legal impact of social media from a business perspective. 

There are reasons to wait, and think, before you discipline and/or fire someone who has made unwise comments via Facebook or Twitter.  As far as social media and its implications for the workplace: we have just seen the tip of the iceburg.

Post written by HRmarketer staff member, Dawn Passaro.  Dawn has over 15 years experience as a human resources professional. Dawn's postings are her own and don't necessarily represent the opinions of HRmarketer or other staff members.

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