Co.Design

Software For Policing Your Own Twitter Feed

Angry at work? Have you said too much? A new online tool can let you know.

I have a 2% chance of being fired, the website tells me. My guess is that either 2% is the baseline, or a few curse words pushed me this high. But 2% doesn’t sound so bad, at least in this economy. I can live with 2%.

That figure comes from an analysis by FireMe!, a Twitter crawler that can dig through your tweets, spot the bad things you’ve said about your boss and scold you properly for your public idiocy. You know, actual tweets like:

Im not upset at the fact I’m working cause I still got my money it’s just I hate my job so much.

Or, a more obvious approach:

You can tell I hate my job when I go to work I’m in the worst mood & my days off I’m like OHHHHH YEAAAA

Or, a polite sidestep.

It’s not that I hate my boss, it’s just that he does not lend himself to being tolerable.

Or, a surefire hit with the ladies.

I can safely say my boss is a cunt.

Want to test your own tweets? Go here.

Ricardo Kawase, the Ph.D. student at L3S Research Center/University of Hannover who created FireMe!, sees the site mostly as a research project. But that didn’t stop him from launching it with a pretty fantastic stunt. Kawase let the crawler loose for 3 weeks on Twitter, where it spotted 4,304 people complaining about their bosses. The system alerted these users via a tweet. And an impressive 249 people (or about 5%) deleted the tweet in question.

"We don’t have many expectations regarding the audience," Kawase tells Co.Design. "We know that it’s hard to change people’s behavior, and even harder to ask them to control their emotions."

Even still, the stunt was a simple, fascinating intervention. While FireMe!’s code is relatively basic (the logic spots predefined negative tweets, and it can calculate novelty "chance to be fired" scores by weighing mentions of work and profanity as well), it doesn’t really need to be all that intelligent to make its point: "People can hear you!" FireMe! provides an important feedback loop that neither Twitter nor your stunned followers will be so bold as to offer.

Now go delete those bad tweets already. Don’t worry, your boss won’t even notice. I hear he’s a total idiot.

Try it here.

[Hat tip: NewScientist]

[Image: Comic Speech Bubble via Shutterstock]

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