Respectfully Yours: Friends
Dear Jacquelyn, Recently, a couple of my coworkers sent me friend requests on Facebook. I use Facebook for sharing photos and updates with my family and friends. Should I accept coworkers’ Facebook friend requests?
Facebook is primarily a place for people to post things relevant to their personal lives. Ultimately, your decision should come down to two things: the specifics of your job, and how you view your Facebook profile. Your company’s culture would be a clear indication of how you decide whether to accept Facebook friend requests or not. If the environment is casual and teams socialize regularly, then it might not be a bad idea.
When a work environment follows stricter codes of conduct, you may prefer to keep a boundary between your work and personal life.
LinkedIn is the preferred way to maintain professional connections. For coworkers who you know and want to connect with on a professional level, choose LinkedIn. For coworkers with whom you have a relationship and friendship outside of work, Facebook is the right choice.
It’s inevitable that our virtual lives overlap with our professional ones. Let your work friends know that you want to keep a division between your work life and social media identity.
Maintaining that division between your work life and social identity is complicated but manageable.
Etiquette dictates that while at work, you interact in a professional manner with co-workers. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be friends outside of work. I think your best bet is to use common sense.
Social media is a great tool to connect with friends and coworkers but, like any tool, you should be careful in how you use it.
Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.
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