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Think twice about befriending your boss on Facebook

By Workplace Staff

Thinking about "friending" your boss on Facebook? You may want to reconsider. According to a recent OfficeTeam survey, approximately seven in ten executives are uncomfortable being befriended by the employees they manage (72 per cent) or their bosses (69 per cent).

"The line between personal and professional has grown increasingly blurred as more people use social networking websites for business purposes," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Although not everyone is comfortable using sites like Facebook to connect with professional contacts, it's wise to be prepared for these types of requests."

Hosking advises employees on Facebook to be sure they are in compliance with their employer's social networking policy. They should then familiarize themselves with privacy settings and create different friend lists to control how – and with whom – information is shared. "Individuals should classify their professional contacts into a 'work' list and limit what personal details this group can view," says Hosking.

    Following are some common Facebook situations professionals may encounter and how to handle them:

  • Untag embarrassing photos. Untag yourself and change your privacy settings so photos are viewable only by your close friends.
  • Accept connection wisely. It might be best to accept friend requests from colleagues to avoid slighting them, but add them to a "work" list and adjust your privacy settings so you can effectively separate your job from your personal life.
  • Remember who's the boss. It may seem like a natural extension of amiable office small talk, but think twice before proactively linking with your boss. It could become awkward for both of you.
  • Be careful about what you join. You should join groups that interest you. But if you have colleagues in your network and don't want them to see the groups you join, remember to adjust your application settings.
  • Be a cautious fan. Becoming a fan of pages on Facebook is visible to anyone who can view your profile, so you should avoid becoming a fan of any page you are uncomfortable sharing with coworkers or business contacts in your network.
  • Quizz quietly. Stop and think for a moment before taking online quizzes and posting the results to your Facebook page - unless you want professional contacts to know which Gilligan's Island character you most resemble.

The survey,  developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals,was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 100 randomly selected senior executives across Canada.

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