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More than 550 million people use Facebook each day, and your coworkers are probably part of that statistic. It can be tempting to connect with everyone from Aunt Gertrude to the guy in accounting, but use caution when adding employees and coworkers. As your friends list grows, so does the risk of potential problems. If any of the things below go from your news feed to office fodder, your next status update might be about your unexpected pink slip.
Your life isn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows, but that shouldn’t be common knowledge. Besides, you’re the boss. It’s best to remember that old saying about certain bodily emanations that run downhill, because your coworkers don’t need to know about your obnoxious ex, the rude waitress at your favorite restaurant, or how clingy your mom is. Take extra care not to mention work-related issues, including the fact that you hate Mondays, boring meetings, or working overtime. Not only will this strain working relationships, it might open you up to legal repercussions as well.
You told your employees you couldn’t make the afternoon meeting because of “babysitting issues,” but if you post a picture of your fancy dinner a few hours later and someone sees it, you’re busted. And so is your credibility as a manager. Even if you keep personal stuff off of status updates, a friend might tag you in a photo or location post. Don’t get caught in a lie if you value the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.
Do you remember what you did last weekend? Your memory might be fuzzy, but Facebook remembers everything. Especially if you haven’t adjusted your privacy settings. If your employees see it, it’s safe to say it’ll be the talk of the water cooler Monday morning. Sure, you can delete those pics where you’re falling down drunk, but your employees may have already printed a few copies for their entertainment and your displeasure. Good luck barking orders while pictures of you doing a keg stand keep mysteriously popping up and undermining your authority.
People feel surprisingly comfortable posting things that shouldn’t be shared online - or offline. Remember, Facebook is not your personal diary. Do not share the results of your last STD test or the fact that you took the test because your ex is a cheating jerk. Other topics to avoid mentioning: Legal issues, pregnancy scares, backstabbing friends, and money problems. Those are things no one needs to know, least of all your employees.
How often do you check out your own page? You might be surprised by how many applications have permission to create updates on your behalf. Your employees can see the high score you got in Bejeweled and all the crops you watered in Farmville during the last staff meeting. They also know all about celebrity gossip you read on Yahoo hours before your lunch break. Keep your subordinates off of your Facebook page if you don’t know how to deactivate your notifications.
Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with family and friends, but it can cause quite a few problems. If you work in a professional environment in which you manage others, it may be best not to mix your work life with your personal life. No matter how “in” you think you are with your employees, your trusted workplace confidantes might end up morphing into office gossips, especially if it suits their needs.