Tell KCUR
4:16 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

I Can’t Tweet Honestly Because I’m ‘Afraid I Might Get Fired’

This painting of a Twitter logo by Ashley Raletz, the sister of KCUR Social Media Producer Alyson Raletz, sits on her desk in the station's newsroom.
Credit Alyson Raletz/KCUR

 The line between individual social media activity and employment status isn’t a clear one, according to feedback we received this week from listeners.

When we asked “Should your boss be able to fire you for what you tweet?” on the air and online, the responses showed the issue of social media and the workplace as a divisive one in Kansas City.  

We received many emphatic yeses, citing personal responsibility.

“Absolutely, there has to be accountability online, as well in real life,” Andrew Fenton (‏@drewfenton81) tells us on Twitter.  

We received a slew of equally passionate nos from listeners, pointing to freedom of speech.

“What would give them the right?” Todd Comer asks on Google+. “It is undoubtedly an infringement on the very liberties the founders of this country sought to protect.”  

You also sent us several versions of this comeback tweet from Sheila Styron (‏@sheilastyron): "I would really like to tweet honestly about this one but afraid I might get fired."

Listeners reached out to us via private channels with answers to the question, as well. But most of them declined to be identified, saying they didn’t want to risk being disciplined at work.

This week’s Tell KCUR question comes as the national spotlight shines on the Kansas Board of Regents for a controversial social media policy. The policy allows public university employees to be fired or suspended for tweets or other social media posts that go against university interests.  

The new policy followed a tweet from David Guth, a University of Kansas associate journalism professor, who passionately reacted to news in September that a lone gunman had killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

The policy has reportedly had chilling effects on some KU staff, who are altering their curriculum as a result.

See more of the online Tell KCUR conversation below.

For the full Twitter stream, follow the #TellKCUR hashtag.  Read other online comments on KCUR’s website  and comments on Facebook.  

Tell KCUR is part of a new initiative to engage the community and shine a light on your experiences and opinions. We’ll ask a new question every week and then share your feedback on the air and online.

[View the story "Should your boss be able to fire you for what you tweet?" on Storify]