Last night, a local group rallied at The Modern to support an Idaho Tax Commission worker who is now on probation at work. Why, you ask? He's caught up in what you could call a Twitterversy.
Wyatt Werner was put on probation for what the state called "excessive social networking on state time". He says for the next 6 months - he will not be able to access Twitter or other social networks from his state computer.
How did this all come to light?
Apparently, Wyatt's friend Shane Carlson (who is NOT a state worker) started a bogus twitter account called @butchotter - posing as Governor Otter. An anonymous email was sent to the Governor's office, saying someone at the Tax Commission was doing this on the clock, on the tax payer dime. So an internal investigation was launched - and Wyatt's personal twitter use was discovered. He says he wasn't posing as the Governor, he was using his own Twitter account - @WyattWerner - and he says he wasn't using it excessively.
"Shane and I have been friends for 9 years and biz partners for 2. He's the original @butchotter. I was never involved (I.e., posting, loggin in, etc) with the @butchotter account. I bantered with the old @butchotter some, but that's no big deal. I've bantered with @guykawasaki and @mchammer, but that doesn't mean I'm a rapping, entrepreneurial guru! :). No, this was always Shane's bag. My understanding is that a citizen contacted the Guv's office saying that he/she believed I was @butchotter." - Wyatt Werner
Twitter disabled the bogus @butchotter account and now
@butchotter is officially the VOICE of the Governor's office. Otter's spokesman Jon Hanian says it comes down to tax payer dollars.
"If you ask taxpayers if they are comfortable paying a guy on salary to Twitter and social network while they are paying his salary, I would bet a lot would have a problem with that." - Jon Hanian
The group of Tweeters that supports Wyatt Werner says social networking is now part of the work day - and should be part of government too. But should it? Should state workers, or workers in general - be able to social network (tweet, facebook, myspace) at work? Even on breaks?
What do you think?
PS: BTW, social networking is a MAJOR part of my work day. I FACEBOOK with viewers, Twitter, BLOG. We get great story ideas, and I just feel connected to our community. In my case, it may be a little different...