Co-Workers and Social Media: A Tale of Two Cities

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Ever had that awkward moment when your co-worker asks: “Are you on [insert favorite social media forum here]?”? If you say no, but you really have an account, it becomes even more awkward once they pull up your page. (Smile…you’re on camera! 🙂 ) Though if you take the other route “I don’t add co-workers on my social media pages”, you risk looking like The Grinch That Stole Christmas – Early. I think it’s safe to say that you may not have something to hide on your page. (Okay, we will forgive you for those pictures of your party trip to Cancun last summer.) But maybe you just don’t want people in your business like that…understandable.

Fortunately, I have had yet to encounter a situation where someone was requesting to add me that I didn’t care to add. (Please excuse me while I go knock on wood before that happens next week.) Though I have seen it happen to others and vigorously took notes on their reactions while eating my fictitious popcorn. Here are a couple reactions I’ve heard that I thought were good come backs if nothing else.

  • “Yes, I have a [___] account but I hardly ever go on there.”
  • “I’m taking a break from social media.”

Well, we all should know the truth to those statements. But maybe they help either a) buy the person answering more time or b) give a hint to the person asking…one would hope.

Or let’s say you are in a management position and your employee asks to add you on social media. Now this position I’ve been in. I’d have to say it could be even more awkward then the first scenario. I haven’t had to have the “Adding you would be inappropriate” conversation. However, I’ve always made sure to set boundaries with employees from the beginning so that they would already know my stand point before asking. Sometimes office culture can help as well, given that it is professional and positive. I once worked in a department where we had a number of student workers. The staff in the office all had good relationships with those students. They were all well aware that we had professional relationships to maintain. In fact, one of the staff in the office had a well-known rule with her employees that she did not add them on social media until they graduated and/or stopped working for her. So she was pretty much the godfather and allowed us other staff to adopt this rule.

As a similar theory, I try to not even have the social media adding discussion with people until I or that other person leaves the job. At that point I don’t really care if you show someone a picture of me at a cookout with a plate full of ribs and my Tupac shirt on. #CarryOn

Have you ever had a social media meets co-worker situation? If so, how did you handle it?



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