Should You Connect With Your Colleagues On Facebook?
Today’s office world can be complicated thanks to the use of social networks. LinkedIn and Twitter are the most used professional social networks in business. With Twitter, unless you lock your account, tweets are available for anyone to see. LinkedIn is clearly a business-focused platform. It provides an easy way to send messages to professional contacts and to introduce people to each other. But what about Facebook?
Facebook was originally created as a tool for college students to connect and now it’s so much more than that. It’s great for marketing and advertising but it’s still highly personal. Through Facebook, one’s personality, self-image and interests are exposed, and these details can affect how co-workers and managers perceive you. Because of that, should you connect with your colleagues on Facebook?
No, Thank You. If your desire is to attempt to keep your personal life separate from your work life, then don’t accept Facebook friend requests from them. When asked why you didn’t accept it, be straightforward. Don’t lie and say you are hardly ever on Facebook or you didn’t see it. Tell them you’re sorry but that you’ve made a decision not to be friends with coworkers on Facebook but that you’d be happy to connect with them on LinkedIn or another business-focused social network site.
Sure, No Problem! If you decide to friend coworkers – be cautious. You might find it helpful to subdivide your friends into friend lists. Friend lists allow you to set different privacy levels for different groups, which enables you to be more selective about what they can see. You can also customize who sees (or does not see) each of your posts. Next to your post, there’s a pull-down menu that can be set as visible to “everyone,” “friends,” “public” or “only me” or you can choose to customize each post to be visible to specific people or specific networks.
If you choose to let your coworkers become Facebook friends, you should approach the relationship with the same professionalism as you would in the workplace. Avoid talking negatively about your boss, your job or complaining about your fellow workers. Take a deep breath before you type, and don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person. Remember, too, that tone can be difficult to convey in short printed messages. If you think your post would negatively affect your professional life it’s probably best to keep it to yourself.