Why You Should Be Facebook Friends with Your Boss

Tess Meyer

For years we’ve been cautioned of being friends with our bosses, professors, and even our parents on social media. Why? Because what we have been posting (let’s be honest – what we have been tagged in) is not appropriate. I mean, no one needs to see photos of you doing a keg stand, grinding at a club, or cozying up with a mystery person in a corner. Really, no one needs to see that on their timeline.

In the past we just ignored follow requests from those superiors. But, we don’t live in that world any more – if a superior wants to see your private page, believe me, they will find a way. It is time to accept the fact that, in this digital age, the line between personal and private has been blurred. I’m not saying it is right, I’m just calling it how I see it. So let’s discuss some practical tips on how you can mesh your professional self and playful self on social media.

Approve Your Tags – First things first, make sure tagged photos of you cannot show up on your timeline without your permission. Your friend might think it is funny…your boss might not.

Follow the Golden Rule – Don’t Post Anything You Wouldn’t Want Your Mother-in-Law To See. That is what I call the Golden Rule of Social Media. If you don’t want Martha to see it, don’t post it, because Martha knows more about Facebook than she let’s on (I have a working theory that needing help with her computer is really just an excuse to talk every week. No one forgets their password that many times).

Have a Disclaimer – Companies are always worried that their employees’ actions or words will reflect poorly on the brand. Add a disclaimer to your Twitter bio – something like, “Opinions are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer.” If you need more inspiration, read here.

Display Your Interests – Social media is a great way for your boss to get to know you on a more personal level. Don’t be so fearful of tweeting about or posting pictures of your interests or hobbies. These are the things that make you unique and bring diversity into your workplace. That being said, take caution with your religious or political preferences.

Being friends with your boss online doesn’t have to be scary. And if you start by following these simple guidelines, you may find it to be both fun and professionally beneficial. Friend request: Accepted.

Want some more tips on how to have a professional, yet personal, relationship with your boss? Read this Career Contessa article on Four Boundaries You Should Never Cross With Your Boss.

 

Tess Meyer is a 2018 MBA in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track. With a background in Psychology and experience managing extensive teams, she is passionate about driving human potential. Tess’ aim is to enter Human Resources where she can build programs that encourage last career passion for corporate employees. When she is not writing or studying, Tess can be found hiking, reading, or trying a new restaurant. Learn more on frombrowneyes.

 

Photo sources: https://www.google.com/search?q=my+boss+is+my+best+friend+meme&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS713US713&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjIxOS6werYAhVT3WMKHXLcDl4Q_AUICigB&biw=1439&bih=732#imgrc=NZqWzHpkDYnVuM: | https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS713US713&biw=1439&bih=776&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=xEllWu6XHYq8jwPp27jYBw&q=bonding+with+boss&oq=bonding+with+boss&gs_l=psy-ab.3…195226.195226.0.195592.1.1.0.0.0.0.86.86.1.1.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0….0.wDgWVzvr5UM#imgrc=i5YpI06EAQDsMM:

This Article Has 12 Comments
  1. Kelsey Fagan says:

    I love this take on the “should you be friends with your boss on FB” question. I think there’s definitely a lesson to be learned about how a college student presents themselves on social media and when it’s appropriate to be friends with professors and eventually employers. I think your advice is great and I hope more students learn this lesson soon.

  2. Jesse Walker says:

    This is great Tess! I was always apprehensive about being FB friends with coworkers but I think if done properly it helps to create a healthy work culture.

  3. Rita Herbstman says:

    Tess – this is awesome because you’re showing people that becoming friends with your boss can actually help build a positive relationship with them. Especially at our age, becoming friends with your current boss could potentially help you keep your profile professional for when you’re applying to future jobs!

  4. Adrianna Grigorian says:

    The part where you say “if a superior wants to see your private page, believe me, they will find a way” is so true. I worked as an intern at a recruiting firm last summer and was able to develop and observe the way recruiters research people. I think it is very important to network and connect with professors, coworkers, and current/old bosses. You provide great tips on ways to be more professional and this can definitely help when networking.

  5. Kristle says:

    I am personally friends with my boss and other work superiors on my Facebook and Instagram. While my office is a little unconventional, it still allows me to create a deeper relationship that benefits me professionally. My boss can now speak to my personal character if she were to recommend me for future jobs. Because she knows me personally, she is also more invested in my growth as a professional. She, and others, will often give me tips on how to improve (much like the ones mentioned above) and give me projects that hone my skills.

  6. Georgia Orgain says:

    Tess,
    This was really informing and defiantly changed my mind about having a boss is as a friend on social. The tips on ways to be cautious are really important and I totally agree that having an open relationship with your boss is for sure a trend and can be beneficial in the work area.

    Thanks!

  7. Marisa Biggins says:

    Tess this was a great blog you posted, your advice is true but I must say for me personally, I’ll never friend a boss or coworker on facebook until I leave my place of work. This is probably because I’ve had facebook since 2005, almost the beginning of its existence where your university/college had to be one of the schools accepted onto the site and only people with an .edu could join, and there’s too many “no one needs to see photos”. I’m more than what my fb page shows and I certainly won’t let it define who I am today in my early 30’s compared to my 20’s to my boss. As Kelli mentioned in class, she keeps certain social media platforms separate from friends/family and colleagues , which I do the same as well. I think if I was just starting out with a fb page today I would still only keep it to friends and family but I certainly would connect with my boss on LinkedIn and possibly instagram. Maybe I’m just old school and my former career as an compliance officer makes me thinks twice about everything I do.

  8. Steve Karandy says:

    Nope. Just nope. Guess I’m Old School on this, but, in the same way I wouldn’t have invited my boss to that friend’s kegger, I’m not going to let them trawl my private life online (especially if people have the ability to post anything to my wall — which they can’t, sorry, not sorry). Being friends with a boss can be awesome, but it is also not the same as being friends with someone you don’t work with. Work relationships change, especially if someone gets promoted or transferred. Also, your boss is keeping stuff from you. Even if they like you a whole lot. They have to. Part of the job description. Trust me, not always fun. So, if you work with me, don’t expect me to friend you. Doesn’t mean I don’t like you. But try connecting with me on LinkedIn, instead.

  9. Jeanne Schneider says:

    Tess – these are great tips, thanks for sharing! I have to agree with Marisa and Steve on this – but I’m a bit old school as well. I actually had an incident at work where I posted images of a party I was at and I was holding a beverage that was a competitor of my client at the time and I was reprimanded for it. It should be noted that the photo was not a keg stand, or drunken mess of a photo, just a group of girlfriends reunited after many years. I’m over 30 and drinking in photos is totally fine, but the cost of having to face my boss and discuss something that really shouldn’t have been a big deal to post isn’t worth the trouble of friending my boss. Yes, they will find it if they really want to know, but my hope is that they will respect me after I assert the request for privacy by not friending them.

  10. Haley Brown says:

    I think that’s such a good point that social media is a way for your superiors can get to know your interests and more importantly it isn’t something you should be scared of doing. Of course stay away from certain topics that are controversial. Great blog!

  11. Lauren Muniz says:

    Tess, this was such a great topic to write about. As a young aspiring communications professional, being public and accessible on social media is basically becoming a requirement when applying for jobs. With that said, it’s hard to find that balance between making sure you’re presenting your best self while also making sure your personal accounts are reflective of who you truly are versus a completely censored version. I do think that extending these relationships within the workplace to social platforms can be beneficial in generating a more personable connection.

  12. Kaitlin-Ann Mulligan says:

    Tess I just want to say thank you! Thank you for breaking it down to the simplest tasks to be straightforward with employers. I know I did not care or even put a thought into it my freshman year but now as a junior I know that both my peers and I struggle with continuous fear of ” is this okay for an employer to see”. How was I as a 14 year old barely entering social media suppose to be aware that what I post then will decide who will hire me now? Although, I am still skeptical about friending them on Facebook I feel that if I don’t add them right away but I manage to keep a job for longer than a year or so then at that time I may feel more comfortable with adding them.

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