In Web 2.0, There Are No Quiet Layoffs

Through the use of social media outlets, not all Yahoo employees are making quiet exits.  

The ax fell on some 1,000 Yahoo employees Feb. 13, after months of speculation and rumor mongering from tech watchdog news sources.

Hopes that a hostile bid from Microsoft would save Yahoo jobs were dashed as Yahoo rejected the buyout offer Feb. 11 as "substantially undervaluing" the search giant.

Yahoo would not say which departments and offices were having their headcounts slashed-only that the reductions were targeted in areas of their business that didn't support their growth initiatives.

But in the age of rapid Web communication through blogs and other social media tools, it is surprisingly easy to find out who is affected.

One laid-off employee used Twitter, a microblogging service, to dispatch one-line snippets of his last day at Yahoo to the Web. "Ironic that I just got my PC repaired yesterday. Won't be needing that anymore," Ryan Kuder wrote at 9:03 a.m. on Feb. 12. At 9:54 a.m. it was "This is a serious downer. Trying to drown it in free lattes. Which I will miss," and at 3 p.m., "Lots of whispered conversations. Like people are afraid to ask who's gone."

Dispatches from other laid-off Yahoo employees came through their personal blogs.

These reports point to the layoffs touching many groups across the company-it is suggested that they come from departments as far apart as search marketing, incubation, advanced technology and special "comeback plan" projects-and are in contrast to previous reports.

"Rather than make across-the-board cuts, we will make targeted reductions," CEO Jeffrey Yang said during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in January.

Meanwhile, the public nature of these layoffs and Yahoo's reputation for having sought-after talent have led many to predict that none of these employees will be out of work for long.

"There will be inevitable job losses. But you could be in a worse place than on a street with a resume from Yahoo," Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh, a talent and outplacement firm, told eWEEK. "Being at Yahoo isn't exactly being at the low end of the totem pole."

However, it is likely that before laid-off Yahoo employees start updating and distributing their resumes, they will be following the lead of Kuder at 9:15 p.m. Feb. 12: "Celebrating unemployment with a giant margarita at Chevy's."