We can all turn into gossips when we're chatting online.
Don't tell me you're not guilty of saying something not-so-kosher about a friend, family member or co-worker on Gchat, Facebook Messenger or Slack at some point. How else are we supposed to express our fleeting frustrations that come up during the work day?
But, the harsh truth we all want to ignore is, private messages could potentially wreck relationships and careers. No matter where you work or what you do, it can always come back to bite you in the ass.
Recently, three teachers were fired at Blackstone Valley Prep High School in Rhode Island for derogatory messages they had sent about students and their families on Slack, a messaging app many companies use to communicate. It's like Gchat or AIM. (Yes, people still use AIM at work.)
The teachers thought their group chats were private -- and maybe no one was monitoring them -- but one of their accounts got hacked. It was all over from there. An email was sent out to students and staff containing 18 pages in a Google Doc of the teachers' Slack messages.
Could you imagine being a high schooler and reading mean messages from your trusted teachers? It's horrible. The teachers used words like "toxic," "idiots" and "dumb" when talking about their students.
But, the same could literally happen anywhere. That's why it's important to check yourself. Think before you type. If you need to bitch (and we all do at some point), it's better to do it when you know it can't be blasted out via email to all of your co-workers.
You'd think people who use a company-issued app to chat, like Slack, would be more aware of the consequences. Maybe the teachers were aware, but just didn't give a shit. Maybe they thought it wouldn't happen to them. Either way, getting fired for something you said about someone else via online message, email or text is completely avoidable if we're just a little more careful.