The MacGuffin

I Almost Accidentally “Outed” Someone on Twitter Today…Or Did I?

Posted by Lauren Rugani on September 5, 2013

We got word via internal all-staff memo today of a new hire coming on board later this month. As I would be working closely and frequently with this person, I took to Google. There, just three links down, was this person’s Twitter profile. Neat! I thought. I’ve been told this person is a superb science communicator, and I was really excited that they also had a social media presence, something of an oddity in my slightly older, more conservative, science/academic institution.

I clicked over to the profile and immediately started to pen an excited “Welcome aboard!” message. A public message. Not a DM.

Then, right before I hit Send, something stopped me. There was nothing in this person’s Twitter feed about the new gig. Perhaps fortunately, USA Today science writer Dan Vergano tweeted his career move over to National Geographic earlier today, and my own Twitter feed was awash in congratulations and well wishes for Dan. The Twitter feed in front of me had no such messages.

Would I totally be stealing someone’s thunder by offering congratulations before they were able to make the announcement on their own terms? Or worse, would I let the cat out of the bag had they not notified their current employer or family members yet? Some things in life deserve a special moment – engagements, pregnancies, job promotions. I would hate for someone to ruin that for me, especially if it was premature.

I didn’t hit Send. Instead, I hit Follow. If they follow me back, then I’ll send a DM saying, “Welcome aboard!”

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