How to use technology correctly, and with class

Chicago (IL) – Earlier this week, the social networking site Twitter was rocked by a brief Tweet exchange which stirred up feelings all over the web. The widely reported on story is of a woman, Connor Riley, who Tweeted the following: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Shortly thereafter a Cisco employee spotted the Tweet and responded with: “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” The exchange launched what really seemed to be the entire Internet into an uproar.

Assumptions were made by everyone and the story was widely reported on. It was assumed she was speaking poorly of the job and being ungrateful. Given the circumstances and the issue as it was presented, I also assumed the same thing. However, everyone was wrong.

Riley was under the impression that only her friends could see her Twitter account and Tweets. It was an update directed at them along, an attempt to update them on a decision she had to make regarding whether or not she would take the position which had been offered to her by Cisco.

Just as I said in my previous article, the Cisco employee, Tim Levad, as an adult professional, really should have dealt with this in a different manner because as it was a mountain was made out of a molehill.

No one has driven that point home more strongly than Riley herself. It’s been a few days, but her statement of the event is now in the public’s domain. On a new website, she has written a classy, responsible response demonstrating to everyone involved exactly how technology should be used.

We include her entire post republished here without permission:

There are things you should know
by Connor Riley

Sometimes in the course of applying for a job, it becomes apparent that it’s a job you don’t want to do. I declined one such job early on Tuesday, and then, because I live at some distance from many of my close friends, I decided to use Twitter to tell them about what I had been thinking.

Let me tell you about how I use Twitter: I have 45 friends. I know all of them. They know me. 95% of them have lived in a dorm or a house with me. I practically can’t offend them, although sometimes I try.

So one checkbox stood between my using Twitter correctly to suit my needs and my using Twitter in a way that would make @timmylevad start baying for my head. (The checkbox is now checked and it ain’t coming unchecked. But I digress.)

Should Tim Levad have backed off? Not necessarily; it was crass of me to say what I did. But 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, becuase 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 think this became rather popular for a few reasons. It’s not just because people are sensitive about jobs right now. It’s not just because the internet loves a witch-hunt. There are growing tensions around Twitter specifically; it’s too public, it’s too easy to use, it’s useless. It’s everyone talking about nothing to no one.

People are tense because no one really knows what it means to tweet yet, what ripples Twitter will leave in our lives in the long term. People don’t think about how they use web services and sometimes don’t care what information they push to the world, which angers other people. Which made a story suggesting that Twitter could cost you a job really, really attractive. So attractive people will waste time making fake twitter accounts, fake blogs just to capture a few cents’ worth of traffic. So attractive people will actually send me real emails from their real email accounts just to insult me.

Yesterday, I thought to myself that I might put up a WordPress install to use later. After I had uploaded the necessary files, I realized that my totally blank site had been getting so much traffic that it might be odd for me to start a personal blog as if the whole thing had blown over when it was really still gently fizzling.

And then I thought of something. If it’s too soon, I said, some internet superhero will discover that I left this blog uninstalled and will take the time to install it for me. They’ll probably then use more of their precious time to spam the front page with fake posts calling me a c**t, but…I’m prepared.

Yep, it’s too soon.

Personally, I think that what she did was brave, classy and shows an amazing example of the correct and responsible manner in which one should conduct oneself on the Internet.