There have been several articles recently about Facebook, specifically discussing the pros/cons about who you should “friend”. The convo centers around whether you should friend your boss or your colleagues. If you’ve missed them, you can check them out here, here, here and here. Be sure to give them a glance. There’s some really good info.
I’d like to give you a different slant on friending or unfriending (whichever the case may be.)
First, I strongly suggest thinking about who you want to connect with. Establish a friending policy, if you will. Do this before you start friending the whole world. And, be in a position to respond if others want to connect with you…but they don’t meet your friending criteria. Two situations to consider:
You initially go out on Facebook and friend a bunch of professional acquaintances. Then for whatever reason, you decide to only use Facebook for personal stuff. So you unfriend all of your professional acquaintances (yes, people actually do this). Is it possible you might have offended someone along the way?
At a business meeting, the discussion turns to social media and who is using what applications. Everyone starts inviting people to friend them on Facebook. You’re not open to friending acquaintances, so what’s your response? And does that help or hurt you in setting a good impression?
Now you might say, hey – it’s my Facebook page and I’m allowed to friend and unfriend whoever I want. And, you would technically be correct. But, let me toss out two types of people you might want to think about while developing your friending policy.
People who can help you find a job. Latest word in the media is that unemployment will hit double digits in the near future. Ask yourself if it makes sense to friend (and/or unfriend) someone who could help you find your next opportunity.
People who can give you business. Whether you’re a business owner, consultant, sales professional, etc. could your friending policy help or hurt your business relationships?
So you might reach the conclusion to not be über restrictive with your Facebook friending policy. But realistically speaking, there are some folks you might not want seeing everything you’re up to. Besides doing the obvious – don’t post anything on Facebook that you don’t want the whole world to see – learn about Facebook’s privacy settings. They allow you to control who sees what. My local newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, did a brief tutorial on establishing friend groups and privacy settings. It’s very helpful. Be sure to check it out.
The privacy settings also allow you to hide what you consider to be annoying posts, like the results of Facebook quizzes or games. And, if a person is annoying you…same goes for them. For instance, you have a little tiff with someone and don’t want to look at their face. Just take them out of your feed. A month later when you’re on speaking terms again…you can simply add them back.
I wanted to toss out this angle because, while Facebook might have initially started as a personal tool, it’s quickly becoming a personal and professional tool. Ultimately, a person’s decision to friend or unfriend someone is theirs and should be theirs alone. But ask yourself, “How does my Facebook network impact my professional career?” And, make sure you’re comfortable with the answer.