Fired for Tweeting. It’s a headline that is cropping up in the media more and more with more severe implications for the Twitterer in question at the workplace. Instead of getting a stern warning, companies are now issuing instant severance papers for those in social media who Tweet taboo topics on the company Twitter feed. The effect that a Tweet has is extremely wide-reaching and can easily ruin the reputation of a business or corporation put into the hands of those who click “retweet” just once.

The 140 characters that you are given to work with need to work in your favor as well as for the best interest of any company you work for. Be careful whenever Tweeting news at work because bad news will travel fast to followers-and steer clear of these 5 hot button topics:

1) Insensitive Jokes About Sensitive Content

You might think you’re being witty and funny, but when tweeting on issues concerning race, religion, and sexuality, keep your opinions out of it. Remember, your followers may not know who the voice behind the Tweet is and to assume that that is the belief of the company is harmful to both company ethics and reputation.

2) Dissing Your Employer

Don’t agree with the amount you get paid hourly? Unhappy about staying after 5pm? Or do you just “h8 my job uggggghhhh?” Talk about it with your employer instead of telling the internet all about it. If you’re looking for sympathy, you’re unlikely to find it, particularly in this economy. And bosses do look at the company Twitter and can easily deduce who wrote what. If you think you are Tweeting on your account instead of the company account, it still isn’t a Tweet you’d ever want to write. Chances are your employer knows about that Twitter account too.

3) Don’t Share Company Secrets

Don’t turn the company Twitter handler into a tell-all Tweet memoir. If you know gossip within the company, keep it to yourself.

4) Don’t Argue with Followers

It may not relate to a topic per say but occasionally followers will attempt to pry for further information from your company in a Tweet that you may not feel comfortable giving out. Depending on the tone of the Tweet, it might be best to refrain from responding (particularly in spamming cases) or answer politely by referring them to the website for further information. Building relationships online and offline for your company is crucial to its success. You never want to argue online with your followers or swear at them. It is never professional and with so many people viewing your account, it ruins your reputation.

5) Keep Personal Information Out of Your Tweets

FourSquare has made it popular to tell the world where the office is going to lunch at, but as always it is an optional site to link to. If you don’t feel comfortable telling Twitter (especially in the case of a home-based business) where you are located or the phone number to contact you at, you don’t need to. There is no way of knowing who is looking at your Twitter profile- and you are never required to give out information that you don’t want to.

Keep these tips in mind at work and you shouldn’t have any trouble with your Twitter account. Happy Tweeting!