In late December, the chain was in the process of telling employees about extensive layoffs when one of those employees—someone who had password access to the company's Twitter feed—began sharing her thoughts, such as: "Sorry we've been quiet for a long time. Under contract, we've been unable to say a word or, more importantly, the truth." Then this matter-of-fact tweet: "We're tweeting live from HR where we're all being fired. Exciting." One of her last tweets before all tweets from the company went silent was this delightfully predictive one: "Just overheard our Marketing Director (he's staying, folks) ask, 'How do I shut down Twitter?'" The best ideas always seem to come just a little too late.
Everyone knows the standard advice when someone—especially someone who works in IT—is about to be fired or laid-off, all of their passwords and systems access are shut off right before they're told. You never know how people are going to react. Perhaps it's time to expand those HR termination rules to also cut-off access to all company social tools, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter, Google+ (NASDAQ:GOOG) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD). That's a rule 257-store British entertainment chain HMV probably wished it had.