Case study No. 4: Edit thyself

July 30, 2010: 3:00 AM ET

Amy D., former interactive specialist, marketing firm

Ideally, employers should love it when workers hoist their own brand flags: It helps attract business. It's logical, after all, to expect that an employee with a passion for horses might help attract equestrians. Yet somehow, few remember that the same things that are inappropriate in the office are also verboten online. "People forget that they are always representing their companies," says Erwin. "If you send a tweet that says, 'My boss sucks,' you have to be aware of what could happen."

Case in point: Amy D., 36, was a social-networking expert at a marketing firm. She was just "letting out some frustration" last year when she issued a tweet noting the irony that she was editing a presentation about social media for her boss—who didn't use it. She got fired shortly thereafter for violating a new communications policy. Amy soon landed another job as a coordinator of digital products, but asked us not to use her full name to avoid embarrassing her new boss. He's well aware of what happened, she says. Despite that, he recently elevated her to a new job, which includes being the Twitter voice of the company. His only advice, says Amy, was "to be careful about what I say and use my own best judgment."

Now, while Amy tweets on behalf of her new employer, she'll keep it to current events (baseball, say) or mention tweetups or other company-related meetings. "If I am not having a great day, I'll call a friend," she says.

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Building your brand (and keeping your job)

Case study No. 1: Don't be overeager

Case study No. 2: The brand rehabber

Case study No. 3: Branding, not bragging

Case study No. 4: Edit thyself

Case study No. 5: Be sensitive to changing priorities

The promised brand: How to get there

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