(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)
Is your boss your Facebook friend? Do you want the person who oversees your work also having an overview of your private life?
While chatting with a friend this week, she commented that her boss has friended all the staff at her office and not everyone was happy about it. However, they faced a dilemma: do you reject the boss’s friend request and put him or her offside? Ignore the request and hope they don’t mention it again? Or, as most of them had, do you feel obliged to hit the approve button and live with the knowledge that your boss is now privy to your drunken escapades, romantic meltdowns, “I hate my job” tirades and all manner of other outside-of-work information?
While most businesses have some sort of accepted code of conduct for face-to-face interactions between bosses and staff in the workplace, the online version is often overlooked. Sure, there are usually rules and guidelines for when, where and how you can surf the net (do it in your lunch break, stay away from naked people sites and don’t download dodgy stuff), but I’ve never heard of a company with a policy covering the social minefield of social media on a boss versus staff level.
So, should your boss friend you on Facebook? I think probably not: they are in a position of authority and you may not feel you have any choice but to accept their request because of that imbalance.
If you want to be their friend on Facebook, then that’s fine. But they should allow you to be the one to make the first move.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a set of guidelines for strange dudes who insist on emailing messages through my website with details about their dangly bits, but it’s safe to say the accepted unwritten etiquette would be to avoid exaggeration of the acreage of said bits and please, wash your hands.