Facebook Friends: Connecting with your boss on social media

by epi on July 16, 2013

Q: Should I accept a Facebook friend request from my boss?

A: This is of course a personal decision, but we advise that no, you should not connect with your boss on Facebook. The reason is that while you may be mindful of what you post and share on Facebook, you cannot control what others post about you. Here, you run the risk of another friend sharing a photo or comment that might be offensive or distasteful and could make you look bad. The last thing that you would want is for your boss to see a post like this and have it reflect on you as an employee. There have been several situations where Facebook posts have cost people their jobs, and unless you are very careful and sure about your privacy settings, you take this chance as well. Keeping your personal and professional life separate is important in business relationships, especially with those that can potentially make decisions about your employment.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Gertrude July 16, 2013 at 8:54 am

You can, however, control what your boss can see by making your profile “restricted”. I have done this for my coworkers, my boss, and to be honest, my parents. This way, they can’t see your “wall” and certain photos, but you are still “friends”.

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Winifred Rosenburg July 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

Yes, I was once in a situation where I was Facebook friends with my boss before she became my boss. I didn’t want to unfriend her so I put her on the restricted list.

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Becky July 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

Ditto Gertrude. Facebook does give controls to set up permission levels (access to photo albums, wall post, etc.) for your “lists”. I have several lists that I regularly exclude from viewing individual posts or photos. I would really only suggest this for a more savvy/experienced fb user because if you don’t have your settings right, you may accidentally ‘expose’ yourself. You may also decline and instead invite your boss to your ‘contacts’ on LinkedIn, which a popular ‘professional’ networking site.

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Gertrude July 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I also want to point out (a pet peeve of mine): Don’t post on Facebook what you don’t want to be public! You never know who will be your future boss or coworker. If someone posts something that you don’t want people to see, remove it, and then private message them, and kindly request that they don’t post that sort of stuff about you anymore.

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Joanna July 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

Agreed! There are too many people today – especially younger ones, who have grown up with social media 24/7 and perhaps don’t truly realize all its implications – who mindlessly post every little thought that blips through their mind, every place they visit (the concept of FourSquare really makes me cringe), etc.

But, another reason to be careful with people like a boss is that words and photos can easily be intrepreted differently by different people. One person may see a particular image as innocent, and another person may read something entirely different in it. So, it’s just better not to, IMO.

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