Can you be friends with your boss on social media?

Have you done it? Have you become ‘friends’ with your boss on Facebook? Maybe they sent you a request and you felt pressured to accept. Maybe you accidentally requested the friendship whilst trying to stalk them down online.

Either way, it can be incredibly awkward.

First things first, it is your Facebook profile, and you have the right to friend or unfriend whoever you like. Don’t feel pressured to accept or to ‘friend’. If your boss turned up at your house unexpected in the middle of the night and asked to come in and have a look through your holiday photos, the chances are the door would be slammed with them on the outside. The same can be said for your online home.

Of course, there may be some situations and working relationships where you feel comfortable having your boss as a friend, follower or subscriber.

Just bear in mind the following 5 thoughts:

  • Is the content of your posts appropriate?

    The occasional sarcastic comment and silly picture is acceptable, but if the posts compromise your professional relationship or start to criticise the company or clients, you might want to think twice before posting it. Example:

  • Is the timing of your posts appropriate?

    Do you regularly tweet whilst you’re meant to be working? Bear in mind that if your boss is following, the timing, and often the location of your posts will be as clear as day. So don’t tweet ‘from Alton Towers’ when you’re meant to be off sick, and don’t tweet about a sports result whilst in an important meeting.

  • Know when to banter.

    A good sense of humour is crucial to a healthy working relationship with your manager, but if it goes too far we could be venturing into dangerous territory- so develop the skill of knowing when to have a laugh and when to keep it to yourself.

  • Check your wall.

    We could stick to every single one of these suggestions, but a badly timed comment from a friend or a misunderstood remark from another colleague could lead to an awkward morning meeting the next day. Keep track of Twitter conversation threads, Snapchat screenshots and posts on your Facebook wall to make sure they are worthy of being in the public eye.

  • Your boss is a human too!

    It may not seem like it at times, but your boss is a human being too, and no doubt they have managers they are scared to talk about online. There should be no shame in having an honest conversation about online connections- maybe you could even draft a Social Media policy with your team, agreeing what’s acceptable and what’s not. Full on friendship isn’t the only form of online connection. Maybe your colleagues could set up a Facebook Group or Page, avoiding the need for ‘friendship’ altogether?

Have you ever had an awkward situation with an employer online? Please let us know (if it’s safe to do so)!

Content Assistant - Josh Hunt 

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