Connecting with your boss is a good thing. Breaking down the work/life barriers, entering into meaningful professional conversations, sharing photos from last weekend’s kegger…wait. Maybe there is a limit to how much of your off-the-clock self you show to your boss and social media is blurring the lines.
So, what are the pros and cons to connecting with your boss on social media? There’s definitely a line that should never be crossed when it comes to your higher-ups, and here are some tips.
A Few Reasons You Should Connect With Your Boss Pn Social:
It may be true that you may show too much of yourself by friending your boss online, but what about the opposite? What does it say to your boss if you’re totally unwilling to connect outside the office and even appear to be hiding a part of your life? If you don’t have anything to hide, go ahead and connect with your boss. Your openness will likely be treated in kind.
Another reason it’s smart to connect over social is that it allows your boss a more casual venue with which to contact you. This can work both ways. Facebook messages and direct Tweets may be a great way to discuss something work-related without all the pressures of the office, but it’s easy to go too far. Keep the conversations work-appropriate and totally related to the office and you should be fine.
Finally, connecting with your boss via social may make sense if you’re in an extremely tight-knit office. If part of the company culture dictates everyone be friends inside and outside your cubicles, you may look standoffish if you choose not to share your social network. As with anything pertaining to work, be sure you share only a limited profile with people you call coworkers.
Even More Reasons Why You Shouldn’t:
The odds of something positive coming from your social networking relationship with your boss? Slim. The odds of something negative crossing your paths due to over-exposure on social? High. Hedge your bets by avoiding mixing business with pleasure. Unless your boss is too-cool-for-school or your childhood best friend, he probably won’t mind anyway.
- It’s far too easy for your boss to see embarrassing photos, inappropriate comments, and even catch you playing hooky when you’re connected outside the office. Think of the following situations:
- You call in sick because you’re out of personal days and your boss sees your status update about being at the beach on Facebook.
- You Tweet something negative at a competitor’s company as a purchaser connecting to the brand…will your boss see it that way?
- Your boss can see everything you do on LinkedIn, including all those new industry connections you suddenly seem to be making as you’re trying to find a new job.
- You tipsily post a few pictures on a photo sharing site of last weekend’s pub crawl, forgetting that your boss can see them too. Not a good look.
Stay Safe, Don’t Connect Unless You Have To:
In sum, maintaining a professional front at the office is often incongruent with an active, personal social networking life. If you feel you need to be connected to your boss online, consider creating a specifically “professional” profile to give out to industry people. All the hassle could be worth it if you avoid just one awkward Monday at the office.
Ryan Currie is a Product Manager at Spokeo, a leader in people search and reverse phone lookup services. In addition to working on Spokeo, he also enjoys history, pop culture, and following the latest new in the movie industry.