Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Reporter's question about Facebook

On Boston.com, the following Reporter's Question:

Facebook friends with your boss?
Has your boss or superior coworker asked you to be their friend on Facebook and you felt uncomfortable about it? What did you do and why? Email
jodiaz@globe.com to share your story.

I'll answer this from the other side. My view is that anything put on Facebook is something the writer feels comfortable being made public, including the fact that the writer has a page. Once you have a page, you are open to invitations from virtually anybody in the world. But, you are always free to say "no thank you" by not accepting an invitation. Also, if a person does accept and later decides to remove the link, it is easy to do so.

I have invited people from BIDMC to be friends on Facebook to create another line of communication with those who like that medium. Some people prefer it to email. But, I certainly understand if they choose not to accept my invitation. Not only would there be no hard feelings on my part, but I am extremely unlikely to even remember who did not respond.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's different as a CEO, but I can tell you from the many middle managers I've worked with, if you decline an invitation, you're life will be made miserable.

Turning down going out for drinks with the department (in spite of the fact, I'd had tickets for a show for months) got me in a lot of hot water. So much so that I had to go to HR. Which did no good, of course. I left several months later after being labeled "not a team player".

Life is far more like Dilbert than you may realize.

Anonymous said...

A lot of folks I know/work with use LinkedIn for professional relationships and facebook et al for personal ones because they like to keep some separation between work life and personal life. There's a big difference between going out to dinner with your coworkers and going out with your best friends. Both are public, and both are dinner, but it isn't necessarily strange to want to separate the two!

That said, many kudos for incorporating as many ways as possible to be in touch with and responsive to your employees!

Anonymous said...

social networking sites have long had a feature that requires a person to provide information about you before being allowed to initiate a friend request -- with Friendster & Myspace going back a few years, you could require that they give your last name or the email address you registered with. The advantage there is that your boss won't be denied by you, in fact he can't send you a friend request in the first place. As situations like the one you describe become more frequent, I imagine Facebook and others will allow much finer criteria for blocking friend requests.

Anonymous said...

Facebook already provides optional levels of privacy that can accomplish many of those things.