Down, but not out: venting lay-off woes online
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Faced with a wave of layoffs in the IT sector, Web users are venting their spleens online to a captive audience, as Michelle Chappel discovered when she took on Yahoo.
Rather than letting the economic crisis give them the blues, some Web users have chosen country music. Michelle Chappel, a consultant at Yahoo, is one of them. She witnessed the announcement that Yahoo was to be ‘restructured’ and decided to protest the move by starring in her own country music clip “Screw you Yahoo,” which she then posted on video-sharing site YouTube.
Chappell then proceeded to send an email to the famous IT information site, Techcrunch, detailing the weeks preceding the lay-offs at Yahoo and her astonishment at the money splashed around before people were laid off. “They organised a big beer party. Everybody got wine and cakes and all that’s not even counting the Christmas party,” she wrote. Chappel then goes on to describe how the atmosphere at the company changed and the pressure staff were under.
Her message was taken up by Techcrunch and generated nearly 300 comments, the majority greeting the good mood of the song in these times of crises. Like Chappell’s song, innovative messages of economic angst have gone viral on the Web, with the Internet serving as a sort of release for workers fearing for their jobs.
One of the more cited examples is the official blog of US media giant, Gannet. It was flooded by posts from staffers saying goodbye to their friends and colleagues. The blog even provides lists of the layoffs in various cities, a dismal roll that is regularly updated. Techcrunch has set up an animation of the layoffs in the US new media sector. The latest update (Dec. 23) records 113,226 dismissals since Aug. 9.
There are other sites which monitor, on a daily basis, projects and companies on the block or in danger of vanishing from the ether. A Twitter flow has also been set up on the same principle and presents an opportunity for the disaffected – or soon-to-be disaffected – to surf the current wave of lay-offs.
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