A 30 year old barista blogger was fired from his “real” job this week after being hated on by his blogsphere competition.
Aspiring rapper Matt Watson created the blog BitterBarista.com two weeks ago to write about his endeavors in the coffee business, and wrote his stories anonymously. Fox News reports that one post read, “If you remind me four times that you’ve ordered decaf, guess what you won’t be getting …” Another post stated, “I would remember your usual drink if you were a more memorable person.” As you can tell by this sample, his remarks about the people he came in contact with (bosses and customers alike) were unflattering to say the least.
After the site got a bit of popularity — getting over 2,000 views per day — the competition, Sprudge.com outed him, which wasn’t difficult since becoming an anonymous famous rapper is unique. You see, Watson goes by the rap name Spekulation and his Facebook and Twitter accounts under that name along with his real name can be found with about twenty seconds of searching on the Web.
After his boss Seth Levy at All City Coffee in Seattle was made privy to the identity of the writer, Watson was immediately fired. This despite that fact that, contrary to his snarky online comments, Spekulation claims he and his boss had a pretty good working relationship. Watson tried to smooth things over, sending an email to Levy that read, “This isn’t bad press, it’s actually really good press … especially given your customer base and the type of neighborhood that Georgetown has become … I’m just saying … it could turn out to be a fun something that gives the place a little spike in publicity.”
Levy’s response was nothing to laugh about. “I represent the business, the customers and the staff. I can’t endorse what he was saying, whether humorous or not. It puts me in a difficult position, where if I don’t respond that means I endorse what he’s saying.”
Once again, it’s a case of personal Internet activity becoming an issue in your professional life. In this case, Watson obviously wanted to keep his comments separate from the work he was doing. (Notice, there’s no mention here of whether Watson was a good barista.) But no company wants an employee bad-mouthing co-workers and customers, and possibly putting business in jeopardy.
The company would also benefit from having a policy in place about what employees can say online. Does your company have a social media policy that you have to adhere to?