Winning an Audition. Losing the Job.

She jokingly called her students “germ bags” and described school parents as “snobby” and “arrogant.”

On Facebook.

As a result, this Massachusetts math and science teacher lost her $92,636-a-year job.

A waitress at a pizza restaurant in uptown Charlotte was fired after making derogatory remarks about customers who’d made her work an hour past the end of her shift and only left a small tip.

On Twitter.

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried lost his job as the voice of the Aflac duck, after the insurance company found out he was tweeting “jokes” about the devastating tsunami in Japan.

Free speech is a wonderful thing, as long as you realize who’s listening. Big Brother is following you. He might even be a Facebook friend or a Google Spy-der.

The website Digital Inspiration discovered that:

“Googlebots, or the spiders that crawl web pages, are now reading Facebook comments on websites just like any other text content and the more interesting part is that you can also search the text of these comments using regular Google search.”

Many sites allow you to use your Facebook profile to leave comments. It’s easy and it saves time. But when you do that, your remarks are linked to your user name, profile picture and they link back to your Facebook profile.

As CNET’s Sharon Vaknin warned:

“A Google search for your name may reveal your comments. Since your Facebook account is tied to your (presumably) real name, anyone googling you may stumble upon your political, religious, or general views expressed in comments you’ve left across the Web. Consider this when leaving comments using the Facebook Comments platform.”

And it’s not just your comments that could get you in trouble.

One of my European colleagues had landed a voice-over job for a high-end electronics company. She was thrilled to be associated with such a big name, and she liked the video she had voiced so much, that she put a link up on her blog.

The next day the phone rang. The legal department of the electronics giant asked her to read the fine print in her contract. It stated that she was not allowed to publicly associate herself with the company and that she could not use any material for promotional purposes.

Even though she removed the link immediately, she never heard from this client again.

Later she told me: “It was just a link to a video that was on the company website. It was in the public domain. What’s the big deal? The way I see it, I was creating some free publicity for this company.”

It amazed me how quickly the legal department had discovered the link on a blog that wasn’t exactly popular. It goes to show that you never know who is watching over your shoulder.

This week, one of my agents received the following message from a casting director:

“Agents – it has come to our attention that many actors excited about their auditions, will post notices on Facebook and Twitter. This weekend, an actor lost a job because the tweet got back to the client on a product that had not been announced. Please ask your actors to not tweet/Facebook the products for auditions.”

My agent immediately sent an email to all talent:

We know you get excited about auditions and bookings, but please do not tweet, Facebook, blog, or share in any way before the finished media is out.

The safest sharing rule for the entertainment industry: only share information on your project AFTER the date of first insertion. No exceptions.

DO NOT announce clients or products for auditions, callbacks or bookings.

DO NOT check in on Facebook.

DO NOT use social media on set.

Remember: You have the right to remain silent.

Anything you say can and will be used against you.

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS Be sweet. Please retweet.
PPS Next time I’ll talk about adding value in voice-overs.

About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a multilingual voice-over professional, coach and writer. His blog has been voted one of the most influential voice-over blogs in the industry. He's an expert contributor to Internet Voice Coach, the Edge Studio, the International Freelancers Academy and recordinghacks.com.

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Journalism & Media, Promotion, Social Media