Though the goal of the Kent constabulary appointing Paris Brown as its youth commissioner was, partly at least, to gain press/public attention, the coverage received by the hapless teenager in the newspapers and on the TV over the last 24 hours is far from what her new employers would have wanted.
There is growing pressure from the media and from MPs for Ms Brown to tender her resignation, after racist and homophobic tweets were discovered on her Twitter history.
Though Kent Police & Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, who appointed Ms Brown, was quick to apologize, she did use the rather poor excuse that they have never had to use measures such as checking their prospective employees’ social media activity before. Personally I think, given the fact that Ms Brown was going to be in such a high profile and highly sensitive role, plus the fact that it was focused on liaising with the social media savvy teen population, this was just a little naïve.
Admittedly the high street press have made as much as they can out of this story, but whether you consider it to be a storm in a tea cup or a major political gaff, it certainly underlines the need for both commercial organizations and civic bodies to be more aware of their employees social media output.
For technology companies, it is clearly vital that information about projects being undertaken or changes in company strategy are not carelessy broadcast to the outside world by engineers or executives through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Currently, very few companies can say that they have enough safeguards in place to protect themselves against these sort of issues arising.