With the growing popularity of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s not uncommon for friends to send you a friend request or follow your tweets. It’s OK to have be friends with your co-workers, but allowing co-workers to see your online social networking sites should be approached with caution – especially when dealing with Facebook, because it began as a site mostly for social purposes. Some employees don’t have a problem with co-workers being able to see their personal information or pictures posted on sites like Facebook. Others, however, want to keep clear separations between their professional and personal life.
Regardless of what you decide when it comes to your co-workers and social media sites, here are a few examples of who you should not befriend online.
Name: The Prying Boss
About Me: I have the power to hire and fire you. I may be in charge, but I like to snoop into the lives of my employees too much for comfort.
Interests: Checking your social media sites when making a hiring decision, I also like to read updates and make inappropriate comments about your weekend extracurricular activities.
Reason not to befriend: They’re a snoop. Plus, they’re your boss. Do you really want him or her to have access to information about your personal life?
Name: The Office Flirt
About Me: I’m single and ready to mingle. I enjoy long walks on the beach, cooking, and am looking for someone from work – or anywhere – to share my life with. I may have been told that my actions make others feel uncomfortable, but I still do them anyway.
Interests: I enjoy leaving suggestive comments on co-workers Facebook walls and digging up dirt on people’s dating history. How you doin’?
Reason not to befriend: They probably want to know if your status is “single” or “in a relationship.” To just be on the safe side, deny their friend request or add it to a completely limited profile that restricts access to personal details.
Name: The Office Gossip
About Me: I have never met a stranger. I can talk to anyone, and am just a people person. I am a wealth of knowledge about the workplace, and always find a way to get in on everyone’s conversations to find out all the latest news about what’s happening and what’s about to happen.
Interests: Snooping, prying, spreading rumors, creating rumors, and being in the know.
Reason not to befriend: That status and new picture you posted on Facebook could become the topic of discussion at every water cooler across the office.
Name: The Office Spy
About Me: I’m not a gossip, but I like to know things for my personal benefit and power. I am described as being like the wind – I’m everywhere at all times. I like to think of myself as the private eye of the company.
Interests: Stockpiling information resources for a rainy day when I might need them.
Reason not to befriend: None of your information would be safe. Every small detail about you could be uncovered and put into a database, only to show back up at a later day and time when you’re least expecting it.
Because of these types of people, it's important to know what your social media sites reveal about you. If you do get a friend request from one of these characters, the best way to handle the situation is to address it politely. Let them know you appreciate the gesture, but prefer to decline their request.
You definitely make some good points about being cognizant of who you accept as a friend on Facebook. I just wanted to let you know that there are new ways to control who sees what information about you, so that you could accept the gossip or boss without them getting access to much more than your public profile and select photos and status updates.
I just wrote a blog post about how to do this: http://sunstarcreative.ca/blog/online-marketing-tips-for-business/accepting-facebook-friends-for-business/