With the boom of social networking websites during the last three to four years, the digital divide is lessening. More and more folk are becoming computer savvy with networking with others online on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Myspace. Oftentimes, these online communication methods are used in the office as well, and I find myself more and more getting requests from those I have had a working relationship with in the office. These are not friends per se but associates on an employment level. How do you handle these requests? Where does the work relationship line end and how do you transition these relationships to the social media genre?
It’s a sticky topic of course. In the last office I worked in, social networking was not allowed during work hours on company computers or on wireless devices while we were on the clock. There were a few times, however, that I received requests by those I worked with on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t mind taking our relationship to the social networking sites for SOME of the people who requested me, but for others, I didn’t want them invading my net-space.
How do you handle such conundrums?
In order not to be rude, I suggest you create two accounts for your Facebook. One account can be for your friends and family, ones who you have a personal relationship with. The other can be for more networking relationships such as those you work with in the office. I think this is the best way to handle this situation, in order not to hurt anyone’s feelings or ripple the tide in the office.
Facebook for a fact, has gotten people fired, not because its being used in the office, but because of information and statements made on it about an employer, employee, etc. Big brother is always watching and this can complicate things.
Be mindful of that.
Social networking is beneficial to almost everyone who uses it to their advantage. But now, there is a whole list of new rules that must be developed in order to ensure your reputation in the office.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Create a different account for your business and personal relationships.
- Do not use social networking in the office, unless it is allowed per your company and employee manual.
- Be mindful of everything that you write online. Status messages and other content can be searchable on the Internet, even if the person is not your “friend” or they don’t “follow” you.
- Using your real name on social networking sites can make you found that much easier. Be mindful of that if you want to remain low-key online.
- Be mindful of what you put online. It can come back to haunt you. Utilize social networks by being smart and being proactive and not reactive.
It’s a social networking jungle out there. Know the rules, be smart, and be careful about the way you communicate on the Internet.