Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

This is the sad story of a man who didn't know what he'd done, until it was too late.

Which doesn't mean he should have known what to do. 

It's just that sometimes the twisted ways of politics can come down on the little people far more than on anyone of any size.

Roy Jones was paid $14 to man Marriott International's Twitter account.

Some might decide this suggests Marriott doesn't care much about Twitter. 

It certainly cared when Jones liked a tweet that complimented the hotel chain for doing something good.

Did it give him a  bonus? No, you already know this is a sad story.

Here's the tweet.

It referred to a survey performed on behalf of Marriott. 

The tweet seemed nice enough, didn't it? 

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Jones must have thought it seemed nice too, because he liked it on behalf of his employers.

Sadly, there was someone who didn't like his like. The Chinese government. The tweet, you see, had come from a Tibetan separatist group.

China insists that Tibet is merely a part of China. And Marriott had inadvertently suggested that these places -- that many people think are countries -- were actually countries.

When China insists they aren't.

In January, Marriott apologized for its 'mistake.' The Chinese government shut the hotel chain's booking systems down for a week.

As for Jones, well, did I mention he was making only $14 an hour?

He told the Journal he had no idea what the problem was. "We were never trained in any of the social graces when it came to dealing with China," he said.

In its way, this view was supported by his former employer.

"We made a few mistakes in China earlier this year that suggested some associates did not understand or take seriously enough the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Those incidents were mistakes and in no way representative of our views as a company," Craig Smith, head of Asia-Pacific for Marriott, said in a statement.

But of course.

And of course Jones was fired. 

Because, well, many U.S. companies want to make big money in China.

Why, recently Apple moved its Chinese iCloud accounts to servers that happen to be run by, oh, the Chinese government.

In the Marriott case, the Journal says that the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration told the hotel chain to "seriously deal with the people responsible." 

Some might wonder who those responsible really were.

Was it Jones? Or might it have been those who trained him or were his bosses? 

I contacted Marriott for its view, but didn't receive a reply. 

Of course Jones isn't the first to man a Twitter account and lose his job for a social media faux-pas.

Who could forget the man who tweeted that no one in Detroit "knows how to f***ing drive"? On the Chrysler Twitter account.

Sometimes, those tasked with a corporate Twitter account mix up their own personal account with the corporate account.

And sometimes people just don't think.

In Jones's case, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time with apparently insufficient information. 

Some might wonder why Marriott took such draconian action. Was there really no middle ground here? A reprimand, perhaps? Or a suspension? 

It seems that when dealing with certain aspects of politics, there's no forgiveness or even forbearance. 

Or should that be certain aspects of money-making?

Published on: Mar 7, 2018