It’s that time again when we look at the latest case study of someone that should know better using social networks to vent personal beliefs/opinions that reflect negatively on their employer.

No prizes for guessing what happens next.

This time, the brand in question is Microsoft, specifically Xbox, and a recent conversation in relation to the next Xbox, which will be released on May 21st, and its probable always-on feature.

For those that are familiar with always-on gaming, it has been far from a smooth path, and games fans are wary of related issues, especially in light of problems with titles such as SimCity and Diablo 3.

In this instance the conversation was U.S. –based where Internet connectivity varies depending on location, and some parents have also expressed worries that an always-on connection would break broadband caps without their knowledge.

The issue began when A creative director at Microsoft, Andrew Orth, appeared to confirm a rumour that the next Xbox will require an always-on internet connection. Orth has been working as a creative director at Microsoft Studios on a game, which is yet to be revealed, since February 2012 and he was involved in a sarcastic exchange about the benefits of being connected. This was seized on by games fans, which in-turn triggered an online debate.

The discussion, which can be seen below, took place between Orth and Manveer Heir, a senior game designer at BioWare. Orth and Manveer are apparently close friends who seem to have been making fun of each other, but sarcasm does not always translate well, especially when Orth commented “why on earth would I live there?” when asked  about towns that do not have good levels of connectivity such as Janesville, WI and Blacksburg, VA.



After a week of controversy, Gameinformer reports that Adam Orth has now voluntarily resigned from the company, which had been forced to apologise for his comments and indiscreet references to the new Xbox project, as below:

“We apologise for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday,” said the company.

“This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer-centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.”

This may have been a case of a sarcastic conversation that went wrong, rather than an attack, but the outcome was the same; damage to the brand, resulting in the individual leaving the organisation.

The lesson is simple, Social networks are not private, and anything you write is accessible, so think before you tweet, and remember Twitter Tirades never work!

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