Q&A: Facebook and connecting with colleagues at work

Question: Do I have to connect with my colleagues on Facebook? It seems as if many colleagues are connected online, but I’m not sure whether I want to share what I do with my friends outside work with them.

Answer: This is an interesting question and many people are thinking about this. Firstly, it depends on where you work and the organisational culture you are part of. In some workplaces it’s totally normal to be connected all over social media and other teams are keeping it more private. Secondly, Facebook can be very personal, and you have to decide how open you want to be. Ask yourself what privacy means to you? And how important is it? We are all different in how we look at this.

One option is to tell people you work with that you are very happy to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and other open online networks, but keeping Facebook to people you know outside work. It could cause conflicts if you are allowing only a few colleagues into your Facebook, but not others. In this case I mean close colleagues who you are ok to hang out with during work hours.

I know that some teams are bonding better when they are connected both at work and online, you share your interests and experiences and that’s good for the atmosphere.

I’ve also heard horror stories about work colleagues who have shared private and sensitive updates to Human Resources (HR) about a person’s medical condition that they had written in a Facebook post. This is not ok under any circumstances, and I hope that the HR department told off the person who forwarded the sensitive information.

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Define what privacy and openness means to you right now. You can also change your mind about how to handle your Facebook network in the future, that’s ok.

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