Social media activity now has more weight on individuals’ professional lives than ever before. Even posts made years ago can negatively affect a person’s reputation.
A soon-to-be NASA intern learned this lesson the hard way when she engaged in a Twitter battle with a NASA board member. She didn’t recognize her “opponent’s” position at the time.
After the intern in question, named Naomi, learned that her application to NASA had been accepted, she took to Twitter to share the news.
In all caps, she tweeted, “EVERYBODY SHUT THE F*** UP. I GOT ACCEPTED FOR A NASA INTERNSHIP.”
Homer Hickam, a member of the board that oversees NASA, issued a quick and short response to her tweet, which simply read, “Language.”
Naomi apparently wasn’t having it. She responded, “Suck my d*** and balls, I’m working for NASA.”
Her attempt at humor didn’t go over well with Mr. Hickam, who responded, “And I am on the National Space Council that oversees NASA.”
Soon after the exchange, the to-be-intern received news that her internship acceptance had been revoked.
However, Hickam did not personally fire Naomi. In a blog post on Tuesday, he stated:
“Recently, it was called to my attention on Twitter that someone was being hired by NASA and that they were using the F-word in a tweet about it. I’m a Vietnam vet and not at all offended by the F-word. However, when I saw NASA and the word used together, it occurred to me that this young person might get in trouble if NASA saw it so I tweeted to her one word: ‘Language’ and intended to leave it at that.”
Naomi’s friends used the hashtag #NASA to inform the agency about her tweets. This led to Naomi’s dismissal.
She personally reached out to Hickam and apologized, which the former engineer appreciated. He stated on his blog:
I had nothing to do with [Naomi’s firing], nor could I since I do not hire and fire at the agency or have any say on employment whatsoever … After talking to her and looking at her resume, I am certain she deserves a position in the aerospace industry and I’m doing all I can to secure her one that will be better than she lost.”
Featured image via Public Domain Pictures