Professional Baes: To Friend or Not To Friend?
There are many varying opinions on the appropriateness of mixing workplace relationships with personal social media. Many articles I’ve read on LinkedIn advise against adding supervisors and colleagues on social networks. I know friends who have changed their Facebook names in an attempt to obstruct visibility of their online presence to work “friends.” People have told me that they’ll never share that they’re on social media with their coworkers.
While there are tons of advice supporting keeping your professional and personal networks separate, I don’t think that it’s that black and white. When deciding who I’m going to add, I usually consider these three factors: what is the content I’m sharing, which platform it’s on, and what is my relationship with the person.
For the most part, I think my Facebook is non-offensive. My typical posts are:
· Photos of my kid
· Photos of me and the husband
· Random motivational status
· Photos of my kid
· And more Photos of my Kid
I am personally comfortable with adding coworkers and supervisors because the content of my Facebook tends to be mild and non-controversial, which definitely describes my work persona. Now, if I were reading people in my status, posting about family disputes, and frequently reposting videos during work hours, then I’d probably be less open to accepting Facebook friend requests from my boss. However, there are other social media where I’m less filtered, that I prefer coworkers not follow, which brings me to my next point.
I am currently on several social media. I am easy to find on Facebook and many of my posts are public. Historically, I’ve been more protective of my Instagram. On Instagram, I’m living my best life, straight flexin’, and taking the most filtered of selfies. However, the fly girl I am on the weekends, is not the shy girl I am in the office. It used to be my preference to not have people from work follow that account.
Of all media, I don’t like for colleagues to follow me on Snap Chat and Twitter. On those accounts, I am fairly raw and undisguised: snapping vids of me lypsyncing to Cardi B, and tweeting about how much I enjoy free lunch. I don’t think my employers need to see that. Really, nobody needs to see that…
I read an article the other day on maintaining relationships with former coworkers, and found this excerpt quite good: “Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you had relocated but were in town for a few days on business, would you meet the person for a professionally-dressed coffee to talk shop, or at a bar to gab over a few margaritas?”
Coffee Shop = LinkedIn
Dranks = Facebook and Twitter
I have a really great professional relationship with one of my college professors, operative word: professional. She played a huge part in my undergraduate achievements. I worked in her lab, she funded my travels to conferences, and coached me before presentations. Post college, she has written several recommendations for job opportunities, and for grad school. We have remained close throughout the years. She attended my baby shower and my daughter’s first bday party, and has knitted the most perfect sweaters for Bella. However, we are definitely never getting a drink together. It would feel inappropriate. LinkedIn it is.
On the flip side, I made some really good friends at my previous job. I’m having lunch with my former boss tomorrow! I also know that we can have a drink together, because we have. They are welcomed to the Social Media Party. They may be reading now. Hey ladies!
But Now I'm Blogging
My passion to write has always been at odds with my preference to be private. To write is to be expressive: exposing feelings, and sharing one’s perspective. Most writing reveals some truth about the author. I used to be more stringent about who has access to my social media, but now that I’m blogging, I’ve made strides to increase my social media presence, so that I can provide ample outlets for others to find my work.
The best I can do for myself is to make sure that I’m only sharing information that I don’t mind everyone knowing, because the truth is, aside from my faithful group of friends, I don’t know who reads this blog. It’s my duty to my myself and my family to not overshare. For those things I wish to keep private, my physical journal still holds many secrets.
I’d love to know your take on this, as I’m always looking to learn while navigating the professional world. How do you guys deal with social media as a professional? I’d be interested to hear.