Too many “friends”, indeed!

Some of us out there may hold the belief that you can never have too many “friends” on Facebook or followers on Twitter, Instagram or Pintrest.

This is not so.

You can have too many friends, especially if they originate from your place of employment.  We tread on very thin ice when we allow our co-workers access to our personal on-line “social” life.

If you indiscriminately accept and/or initiate friend requests with your co-workers and supervisors on your personal social media accounts you are entering dubious territory.

Here are three reasons for all of us to set some boundaries:

1. You lose control over who sees your content.

No one wants to be “Facebook fired”. In order to avoid this growing phenomenon keep co-workers out of your personal page(s).

You’ve heard it before. The worker on a medical leave of absence keeps posting pictures of her vacations, hiking excursions, white water rafting adventures…you get the picture.

All it takes is one co-worker to announce, or worse, show, another co-worker. Soon enough the boss gets wind of it and that medical leave just turned into a permanent one.

2. It leads to feeling harassed.

This one is for all managers and supervisors. Please, don’t try to “friend” your subordinates. This often causes your employees to feel trapped. When they do the right thing and ignore the request, but it persists, they feel harassed.

Male managers take note. Quit trying to “friend” your pretty, young assistant. She’s ignoring the requests for a reason, move on.

3. Those posts can lead to discrimination and harassment.

Once you allow a co-worker inside your social media life they will start to learn a lot about you, perhaps too much. Similarly, you may learn way more than you care to about them.

Your social media activity exposes your religious, political, and race beliefs. It also exposes your sexual orientation, marital status, and family life.

At the very least this opens you up to being judged.  Worst case, it could lead to allegations of harassment or discrimination. Again, this is especially risky if you are a manager and the offended “friend” is your subordinate.

If you still can’t resist those friend requests after reading this then please consider these three tips to ensure you don’t end up in front of the National Labor Relations Board.


1. Establish as many privacy controls and filters as possible to limit the personal content co-workers can view.

2. Consider creating separate accounts for workplace buddies. Make a special Facebook page just for your co-workers and professional contacts, eliminating the hassle of setting up individual filters and privacy controls.

3. Finally, don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Create your own personal social media policy. When a co-worker asks about connecting politely decline their request and explain your policy. Keep in mind; if you reject one, you have to reject all. They’re going to talk, they always do!

 Marcie Cicciarelli
Vice President of Community Relations

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