How to be Friends with your Boss on Social Media

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i like youA recent survey performed by Cisco Systems, the Cisco Connected World Technology Report, found that over two-thirds of young employees are friends with managers or coworkers on Facebook, worldwide. This number is astronomical compared to the U.S. where only 25 percent of employees are connected to their coworkers in this way. Contrastingly, 68 percent of employees who use Twitter follow the activity of their manager or coworkers while 42 percent follow both. And only one-third keep their own Twitter feeds private. This could spring largely from common stories relating a tale of an employee being fired after posting objectionable material seen by managers or other employees. However, this pressure to avoid Facebook work connections is countered by social pressure to do the opposite; especially if a boss initiates the connection.

If the pressure to include your boss or coworkers within your social media network is too strong, consider a few steps to take to avoid sharing too much information or revealing a side of yourself that could jeopardize your job.

Use the sharing tools available for each social media platform to limit material accessible to each, individual employee. Due to the public nature of social media profiles, and the private nature of certain status updates, each platform offers powerful tools to suit the needs of most users. Be sure to check off the content that you do and do not wish to share with your coworkers and determine whether or not you want to share status updates based on your own personal preference.

Upon making a post, you can generally choose who can see it. In addition to blocking information from individuals, you can also create groups that contain, for example, each of your coworkers. Creating groups allows you to hide posts from entire sets of people without having to change settings for each individual. Facebook automatically creates groups based on profile information but you can add additional friends as necessary.

As an additional convenience, you may also change your privacy settings to address posts originating from mobile devices.  For example, Facebook’s mobile app gives multiple options for who can see your posts within its general privacy settings option. This includes a custom option where you can add select individuals to your blocked list. In response to the results of the survey, Dave Evans, Chief Futurist at Cisco stated, “The lifestyles of ‘prosumers’ – the blending of professionals and consumers in the workplace — their technology expectations, and their behavior toward information access is changing the nature of communications on a global basis.”

Read more in Using Facebook

Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.