Trouble in the office? The Grindstone is here to help. Write in with your workplace drama and we’ll try to help you sort through the office politics and keep moving up the corporate ladder.
We all know that bosses don’t appreciate their employees being negative on social media. That’s a pretty well-established fact of the business world. But HR aren’t the only ones monitoring your Facebook page, your co-workers might be checking your timeline as well.
Over the past couple months, I’ve been surprised by the number of comments I’ve received about co-workers and Facebook. It’s a forum that really shouldn’t have that much of an effect on your relationship with your office mates, and yet plenty of business people are still frustrated by the way their personal and professional lives intersect on social media.
This week, instead of highlighting a simple problem, we’re going to take a look at the various issues that arise when co-workers connect (or don’t) on social media.
“How do I tell the random woman in my office that I don’t want to be friends on Facebook? She’s invited me to be friends and keeps bringing it up randomly in the office that I haven’t accepted her. I have a ‘separation of work and social life’ policy and try to keep my Facebook just for my friends and family and what not. I thought she would get the hint when I didn’t accept her, but she keeps asking about it.”
Work friends on Facebook can be tricky. Some people have time to deal with all those separate groups, but not everyone wants to deal with the hassle. As long as you have a strict policy and apply it to everyone, you’re well within your rights to say, “I really just use Facebook for family and friends outside of work.” If people are offended, add them as contacts in LinkedIn.
“My co-worker passive-aggressively talks about our office on Facebook all the time. Like, she doesn’t name anyone, but we can all tell who she is talking about. And if she wanted to rant about all of us Facebook, why is she friends with us? It’s just so inappropriate.”
Snarking passive-aggressively about people who can see your wall is pretty ballsy, we all should admit that. It’s also extremely inappropriate. And there’s really no good way to handle it, outside of ignoring it. I would say block her comments, unfriend, do whatever you need to do. This person is trying to stir controversy, especially if they know everyone can see it. There’s no reason for you to get involved.
“So, the woman in the cubicle next to mine asked if we could be friends on Facebook. We get along really well and I didn’t see it being too much of a problem. I don’t normally friend people from the office but I thought this deserved an exception.
Then, she started bringing up personal information that I shared on Facebook in the middle of meetings or in front of other co-workers. Like, things I didn’t want to talk about in the office. Alright, like she brought up my pregnancy before I had talked to my boss. That was obviously the most awkward, but there were lots of other little things. I don’t want to unfriend her and piss her off, but I don’t want to keep her on there if she brings up everything I post. I find myself not sharing things with my family because I’m afraid she’ll repeat it.”
So sharing your pregnancy on Facebook before you tell your boss might need a separate post. But in general, someone who wants to be friends outside of work and then can’t keep any information confidential obviously doesn’t understand your boundaries. In this situation, I highly doubt she even realizes that she’s doing anything wrong. A quick comment saying, “Hey, I know I mentioned x, y, or z on Facebook, but I’d really like to keep that out of the office,” will probably go a long way in correcting the problem.