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Looking for layoff news? Social networking tools may have your answer

The troubled economy has led some companies to lay off employees, and this year they are approaching it in a whole new way. No more discreet, hush-hush conversations – company news is being spread rapidly through blogs and other social networking tools.

Those who have grown up using the Internet are changing the way everything is handled. The Web generation, the 25- to 34-year-olds who learned how to use the Internet in school and grew up alongside it, are approaching the Web in new ways – they are using it to manage their lives. Social networking connects us on a new level — blogs keep us in the know and Twittering (although obnoxious) spreads information in seconds.

Mix that amount of accessibility with a troubled economy and you get a lot of people nervous very quickly.

How? People are already concerned about the economy. You can’t open the business section without seeing something “in crisis” or words like recession and downturn. But what about when you start reading your friends status messages on Facebook.

During some routine Facebook-stalking of my 455 closest friends, I recently came across a disturbing status message: So-and-so has been laid off.

Then comes the panic.

Within minutes, there were comments to the update wondering where they had worked, how many people were laid off, what were they going to do??

What happens next? The person who was laid off feels worse and everyone who looks at the status message starts to think, “This is going to be me!”

OK, granted, this person didn’t have to share with the Facebook community this particular brand of bad luck – but he did and he didn’t think twice about it.

Is anything really private anymore? A company can’t even lay off 1,500 individuals without being recognized in the blog world. Jeeze…

And I will never live down my first college newspaper articles. Deal with it.

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