Facebook code of conduct – to friend or not to friend

April 6, 2009

A while ago a friend of mine asked me for a hint on a little social networking dilemma: he had gotten a Facebook friend request from his boss and he didn’t know what to do. For one reason or another he didn’t want his boss to be able to see his “private side of life”, but he didn’t want to just bluntly say “no” to this request, either.

So, he was contemplating on giving the boss a limited access to his info. This of course is one kind of a message in itself, too. Not that far away from a plain “no”. And in some ways even worse than a “no”.

Fortunately we have other social networks too. Some that are better suited for these kinds of contacts. If you have a request from a boss, a colleague, a partner or a client you’re not that familiar with, there’s nothing wrong about giving the “no” on Facebook and politely asking to contact you via LinkedIn.

Here’s an analogy: LinkedIn is like going to a cocktail party. Facebook is like having a beer with friends.

Naturally there is a path from making small talk at a cocktail party to having a casual beer with someone. But it takes a little time and effort. Both online and offline.


3 Responses to “Facebook code of conduct – to friend or not to friend”

  1. ThatGuySteve Says:

    I don’t see the harm in adding coworkers as friends, and then placing them in a limited profile view.

    If you do not limit them entirely, and keep a good balance, then they should not feel shunned/ignored.

    They must also be able to tell that your relationship should be professional.

    • jarilahdevuori Says:

      Thanks for the view point, ThatGuySteve!

      I personally see that as a possibly harmful thing, because it is against the ideal of transparency. For those coworkers, who you don’t know that well, I’d go for LinkedIn. It’s all fair and square — you don’t need to explain anything.

      On a more personal note, I do believe that being friends enough for facebook and the occasional beer with your coworkers — and boss as well — is rather important. But that’s another story…

  2. Aku Says:

    I have a lot of workmates as friends, some of them on limited profile. I’ve got requests from some coworkers/partners but I only accept people who I know reasonably well personally.

    Having my boss on my Facebook network is not much different from having my Mum as a friend. She, needless to say, is on limited profile!

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