> Never give the impression you are speaking on behalf of Biogen Idec in any personal communication, including blogs, social networking sites, chat rooms
or bulletin boards.
Others are similar  (search for "behalf of" in the pdfs). This google search will show you dozens of similar documents 
This is completely normal. What Orth did was something that no employee should ever do, and particularly not someone in his fairly high position.
Didn't @dooce make this situation highly public? Twitter is no different then a blog...
Orth was a moron and spoke for his employer - clearly he wasn't sanctioned to do so. There is no controversy, no outrage to be had.
Sounds like most of what currently passes for news on CNN and FOX.
EDIT: You made me paranoid enough to edit it out and replace it with one of the dozens of other identical examples on the internet. You have my thanks.
> Microsoft seems to otherwise encourage their employees to post work stuff on the Internet
He should have either stressed he did not have inside knowledge and this was his personal opinion, or he should have said nothing. The problem with the first option is that he did have inside knowledge.
Put another way, if he had said something that had affected stock price, he would probably face criminal charges.
That's reason enough to shut the heck up, bite his lip, and let the internet be wrong. All of us with inside knowledge about our employers (specially if our employer is a public company) do that routinely.
All in under 140 characters?
> All in under 140 characters?
Well, the second options works well in under 140 characters (since it takes exactly 0 characters), and the first option (as noted in the grandparent post) has problems unrelated to character limits, so, yes, "all in under 140 characters."
Just one tweet saying that before the stream of stupidity would have made things a lot better, though he probably shouldn't have commented on the situation at all on an account identified as belonging to a Microsoft employee and he especially shouldn't have been such a huge jerk in his responses (eg. his why would I live there? comment, etc).
In the grand scheme of things, I think he's probably getting dumped on a bit too much and is taking some flack for becoming the public face for a poor decision (always-on console) that I believe Microsoft as a company fully intended to deliver on(though they may attempt to change course on this if possible given the backlash). But he really did show some poor judgement throughout the whole thing.
>Much has been made of Ketchum vp James Andrews, who became an international embarrassment to Ketchum when he used his Twitter account to insult Memphis, the hometown of client Fedex, the morning before he was to meet with them there. The tweet was copied to Fedex's marketing management, and a predictable round of corporate apologizing followed.
* He didn't make inflammatory comments that were un-related to work. He was directly commenting on a rumoured feature of an upcoming product that he is over seeing.
* He made no attempt to distinguish this as a personal Twitter account. On the contrary, he 'prominently' displayed his employer and position.
* There's no reason that he couldn't have had a personal Twitter account without identifying information (i.e. pseudo-anonymous).
Compare his situation with that of Paris Brown. She's 17, employed as a Youth Consultant. Tweets she had written before she got that job, when she was just 14 (maybe 15) were found, and thus there was a pile on calling for her to lose her job.
Some people supported her. Others didn't.
She left her job.
Her tweets were really offensive; but kids are stupid and it's a shame we can't let children make mistakes (and then learn from them).
I guess people are going to be more careful with their interview process from now on.
EDIT: in general I tend to see anything that someone writes as their personal opinion, separate from their employer's position, unless it's a statement from the company on headed paper (or an official account); or unless the person has said "this is what the company says". It's weird to me to link someone's views to their company.
This is actually important in this case. (BTW I do not work for Apple, never have).
Lets say Apple has a new Mac Pro coming out. I tweet the following
Mhurron: The new Mac Pro performs like shit.
No one thinks anything of it really. However if the following happens:
Mhurron(Product Development Apple): The new Mac Pro performs like shit.
Apple has a problem (which is quickly going to become mine) and what I just said looks like more then just some crazy guys ramblings. This is what happened here. This guy clearly listed his position at Microsoft then proceeded to comment and argue with people over a product he had direct knowledge of. That looks like more then just arguing about personal preference.
I too hate the idea that someone could take my opinions as official position of the company I work for, but at the same time I don't go out of my way to brand myself as working for that company either.
I feel bad for Adam that he was canned, but he should not have been making news, especially in an inflammatory fashion, about an unannounced Microsoft product.
 I should also mention that I left in 2007
This is what I recommend to everyone. We can't trust Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. to keep our secrets for us. I mark everything "public", as a reminder to myself to carefully consider what I write there. I have anonymous ids to say things I can't be held legally accountable for having said.
Also, your anonymous ID does not absolve you of legal responsibility, it just makes it a little more difficult to track you down.
If you want to try, I wish you luck in figuring out who my employers were/are.
If you say something stupid enough, one of your acquaintances will do it for us.
This is a real problem. I don't think we value free speech as much as we say we do. If we did, we'd tolerate a LOT more before pulling the censorship card.
That said, canning Orth was a no-brainer. He set himself up as the ultimate anti-evangelist for the next Xbox console. He seriously undermined a product that hasn't been announced yet - this after the announced PS4 details had already positioned Sony as the "good guys".
The typical boilerplate employment contract usually includes easily overlooked clauses that cite publicly embarrassing or disparaging the employer and/or its partners, customers, etc. as cause for termination.
Twitter is designed to be encourage users to post things without thinking too hard about it. So they do, and sometimes that results in them saying stupid things that they would never have said if there had been even a tiny speed bump along the way to force them to think about it. Then they get in trouble if they're lucky, or lose their jobs/suffer social ostracism if they're not so lucky.
This is nothing new, it's been happening for as long as Twitter has been around. I can remember it happening to political pundit Ezra Klein back in 2008: http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowldc/is-ezra-klein-in-troub...
The problem is that Twitter's design is at odds with its actual nature. It's designed to feel breezy and conversational, but it's really about publishing, with all the permanence and exposure that implies. If you say something dumb in a conversation, it floats away on the wind unless someone else involved makes a concerted effort to tell people about it. If you say something dumb on Twitter, the ease of re-tweeting can make it blow up into a Big Thing in minutes.
If people keep shooting themselves in the foot with significant real-world consequences while using your application, year after year, it seems reasonable that at some point people would start wondering whether it was the fault of the application instead of the users. But Twitter apparently has not reached that point yet.
(If you want a more fleshed-out version of this argument, I wrote one here a couple of months ago: http://jasonlefkowitz.net/2013/02/i-kind-of-hate-twitter/)
"If you say something dumb in a conversation, it floats away on the wind unless someone else involved makes a concerted effort to tell people about it."
How exactly is this a new thing? We are free to say what we want, it does not mean we are free from the consequences of our statements.
I have no idea how many "Creative Directors" Microsoft has, or how many in the XBox division, but in general at MS "Director" in your job title usually just means that you are at a level above senior (otherwise known as principal) and (sometimes) are a manager of managers.
So among other things, this is collateral damage caused by title inflation.
I recall that MS employees can blog at microsofts domain, but there is a disclaimer that opinions expressed in blog posts not necessarily reflect the policies of MS. That is a more suitable way to handle things.
Twitter isn't even connected to MS. Seriously.
Uncontrolled PR is an all around bad idea, and it's why many companies explicitly forbid saying anything about the company.
Companies taking responsibility for the actions of their employees is far more grownup than whatever you're suggesting.
"Twitter isn't even connected to MS. Seriously."
What a meaningless statement.
Agreed. But firing someone for expressing personal oppinions (if that is what happened, as the article sucgests) isn't "taking responsibility".
> "Twitter isn't even connected to MS. Seriously."
> What a meaningless statement.
You missed my point. The article suggests you can't tweet anything without your employee feeling you are representing them. That would be reasonable if you used the company website to communicate, but the person in the article had used twitter. There is absolutely no reason for a reader to believe he is representing anyone but himself.
I don't follow the mailing list but are these "reddit-like" conversations common/tolerated on a mailing list?
Off Topic: Is debian.org using a self signed SSL? It popped a warning on my browser.
theVerge http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/5/4185938/adam-orth-speaks-on..., Neowin etc,
EDIT: removed wrong info about Sony's CEO responding to the original tweet, thanks @maximilianburke
I'm pretty sure the Twitter account @KazHiraiCEO is a parody.
Think of it like the difference between chilling on the beach with shorts and talking shit over beer vs. chilling a the beach in your $company uniform and name tag and talking shit over beer. If you're going to do the latter, you best hope that you know and trust all the people you're shitting with.