Can You Be Facebook Friends at Work?

Hello everyone.  My name is Amanda. I work for 4word’s digital media team, and I’m here to inform you that we’re interrupting our regularly scheduled programming this week to feature an interview with our interviewer.
Amy Wilson

If that’s confusing, I’ll explain further. We’ve been talking about social media for the past week, from how to learn new technology to how technology affects your relationships. Today, we wanted to feature an interview about how to use Facebook to build relationships, and we thought: who better to ask than our resident (and self-confessed) Facebook addict, Amy Wilson? Amy normally writes our Wednesday interview series, and since she couldn’t very well interview herself, I stepped into the shoes she normally fills.




Amanda: Diane blogged on Monday about how Facebook can either improve or ruin your relationships. What are your thoughts on that?


Amy: I think it’s absolutely true. Facebook just amplifies the quality of friendship that already exists. So if your friendship wasn’t that strong to begin with and was just based on proximity to one another, then Facebook isn’t going to make things any better. But if you have a strong friendship between two people who genuinely care about each other and want to stay in touch, then Facebook can facilitate that, especially across a distance.


This has been particularly true in my own life. I grew up in Dallas, but went to college in Baton Rouge and grad school in Athens, Georgia. I have wonderful, cherished friends in both cities, not to mention my family back in Dallas. Facebook helps me stay in touch with all of them by sharing photos, links, or funny videos throughout the week.


I do realize that, without social media, I would just use the telephone or write letters to stay in touch with loved ones scattered across the country, but things like Facebook and G chat make it much easier to maintain those relationships. I only get to see these folks in person once a year (if that often), but I can stay in contact virtually and instantaneously. It helps us continue to share our lives, even when we’re hundreds of miles apart.


Amanda: What about at work? How does Facebook affect your relationships with coworkers?


Amy: Actually, I only recently started becoming Facebook friends with my co-workers. When I first started my job, I was much more focused on learning how to relate in a professional setting in my first “big girl” job.


4w_wedblog300x300_030713It’s only been in the last several months that I’ve begun spending more time with coworkers outside the office. Now that we have a relationship that’s more than, “Oh hey, we work in the same department,” I feel comfortable accepting or sending them friend requests.


Amanda: So did you friend everyone at the office? Including your boss?


Amy: No! I guess you could say that’s my one hard and fast line with Facebook and work. I think it’s fine to friend your colleagues, but I would steer clear of friending your boss, her boss, her boss’ boss… you see where I’m going with this?


For me, it’s a matter of holding a boundary between my work life and my personal life. My boss is a wonderful woman who I care for and respect, but we have a professional relationship. We can’t be plain ol’ friends while she is my superior. And that’s fine! You don’t have to be Facebook friends with everyone in your office.


Amanda: What would you do if one of your supervisors did send you a friend request on Facebook?


Amy: I haven’t had this exact scenario happen to me, but I have been faced with a similar situation. I work for University of Phoenix Alumni Association, and as such, I attend several alumni events throughout the year. There have been a couple of occasions when an alumnus that I met an event found me on Facebook and sent a friend request.


When that happens, I just send an email explaining that I prefer to keep my Facebook profile strictly personal, but that I’d be happy to connect on LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn is a professional social networking site and we all know how important networking is to your career growth, I do think it’s important to connect with people in your office there. And that obviously includes your boss. Who else are you going to ask to write you a LinkedIn recommendation?




What’s your vote? Are you friends with your boss on Facebook? What about connecting on LinkedIn? Why? Leave a comment and let us know.