Social Networks Complicate Relations Between Bosses and Employees

What happens when your boss wants to be your Facebook friend?
Welcome any thoughts on the subject.

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Nikki Diamantes

This is such an interesting dilemma! Espcially for those of us who WORK in the social media environment and also keep in touch with friends and family on such forums.

Les Yamagata

In this era of multiple and intertwined social n/w media, it may be difficult to compartmentalize, but I make efforts to not permit senior leadership to become “friends” on FB. It would require me to filter many of my comments, avoid polemical issues, and entail a diminution in my overall honesty, particularly in relation to workplace/personnel issues. I am more elastic, carefree and informal on twitter, but I exercise caution when govlooping, since there are so many of my colleagues enrolled in this network.

Andrew Krzmarzick

In a workshop recently, someone pointed out that there are legal and policy issues tied to a boss “friending” an employee…somehow it crosses a line that is often spelled out in HR policy. But I am not an expert on that aspect. Bottom line: we each get to set our own “policies” regarding how we want to use social media and social networks. For me, I try to keep Facebook personal, LinkedIn and GovLoop professional and Twitter as a blend. Regardless of how I categorize these venues on the Web, I still operate with the understanding that – personal or professional – it’s all public…so there’s nothing I can post that isn’t ultimately available for the world to see.

Guy Martin

+1 to what Andrew said – at the end of the day, it is up to us, the humans, to be professional, regardless of whatever antiquated policies may be floating around from before the dawn of social media. 🙂

Sonia Wiszynski

I think Andrew said it best: “personal or professional – it’s all public…so there’s nothing I can post that isn’t ultimately available for the world to see”. That’s why I have no problem friending my boss.

Al Fullbright

It seems to me there are a lot of people on gov/loop who are using their page and entries as a resume, and their positions reflect their jobs. They dont need to add their Boss to their freids list. The Boss is probably reading everything they post – and many times the Posts are directed with that in mind.

However, that is not to say it isn’t a good thing. I think that the combined effect is a flattening of the general concensus on issues. The radicals soften their positions and the meekest voices find their voice.

There are a lot of people blowing their own horns tho – isn’t it amazing that we all think our veiwpoint is important and our experiences vital.

Tony Cheung

We have our opinions and reasons on how we do thing. If your boss became your friend in Facebook, just don’t have negative comments in your page about your job and/or BOSS until you felt they became your REAL friend.

Emi Whittle

I think this is a VERY important question, and one that we all aught to discuss heartily with the next generation. Amen to Andrew – its ALL PUBLIC!! Treat it all as if your most saintly, tho loving, grandmother would be reading everything, potential employers will be reading it all and SEEING it all… your Pastor will see it and read it… your children will see it and read it… and then there are no problems! I think the upcoming generation is still a bit fuzzy on the consequences of public flaunting of “things you wouldn’t show your mother” – and need to catch a clue. If individual persons are publicly inappropriate(for professional eyes) in their personal lives, then they need to make sure they keep their private personna on Facebook for likewise informal friends; and keep their professional life on LinkedIn… and IMHO, it is not only necessary, but professionally appropriate to choose to keep one’s more private life apart from one’s personal life if that is needed, and then just as professionally, bosses or co-workers who are not “friended” in non-professional networking media should understand without issue…. We are adults who wear our professional clothes to work, and save the bikinis and speedos and cutoffs for the beach…. likewise, our network personna should wear professional clothes to work, etc etc…. my 2 cents which is probably worth less than 2 cents… 🙂

Amanda Blount

We have one rule in our little group. We don’t friend the people in our direct office. We see and talk to each other all day. There comes a time when you need a break from one another. I see my coworkers more than my kids. I think my co workers are ok that we are not “friends”. There is one exception. I have “friended” one coworker. We became “friends” only because we were working on some social networking stuff (I introduced him to GovLoop), but I told him he can de-friend me at any point and I will not be insulted. My co-workers are a great group of people who I would not trade for anything, still, for my sanity, I need a break from the people I see 8-12 hours a day. As for our boss, he is not one to ask to cross those lines. I am very glad he is that way.

Rachel Correll

I think it depends on your work environment. We have a close-knit office and our bosses are often our friends on FB and other social media sites. Probably just depends what type of information you post. i.e. does it conflict with the image you portray in the office?