The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Why I Don’t Put Where I Work On Facebook
I was always committed to keeping work and Facebook completely separate from each other, ever since the beginning. Unfortunately, it did not always remain that way. It is already very rare for me to add people on Facebook as friends. It is even rarer for me to accept people on Facebook as friends. If I accept or submit a friend request, a person certainly have done something to earn that request or acceptance.
For the most part, anyone can add me on Facebook, and although I do not even list my Facebook account on Confessions of the Professions, to minimize the chances of getting added by people I don’t know, I still manage to get a lot of people who send me a friend request. There are quite a few from other countries. Your greatest chances of being added, however, are if we have mutual friends. If not, than chances are: Your friend request is probably going to be ignored unless you message me first to explain your reasoning.
Facebook is more personal for me, although it does not have every single piece of personal information, it is the place where the majority of my friends who are on my list are people I actually know in real life and use it to keep in touch with them. Considering I have lived in a few parts of the United States and even in another country, it is the best place to keep in touch with people. Otherwise, it would be hard to keep email addresses, phone numbers, or even addresses. With the search of a friend’s name and a request, you can keep in touch through photographs, wall posts, private messages, and pokes – though the last one is a feature I rarely use.
When I would start a job, co-workers are not considered friends to me, unless they make an effort to try and hang out with me outside of work, and even then, I trust them only as much to try keep the relationship somewhat professional. Therefore, when I got that friends request from a co-worker on Facebook, and many more since then, I had to make the decision to add or ignore their friend request. While it is nice to see the lives of co-workers on Facebook, it still a professional relationship that you must keep with them, especially at work. There are probably things that you would do with your friends that you just would not do with or in front of your co-workers, who are “friends” on Facebook.
Trying to pass the personal-professional barrier on Facebook is an effort and one that I cannot break. I have had a boss send a friend request and even a company I used to work for requested that I like the page somehow. I have co-workers whom I keep in touch with, but I would say it is hardly any type of “friend” relationship. Having that friendship with a co-worker is nearly impossible because of trust issues.
It might be easier for some people to easily become friends, trust that their co-workers will not blackmail them or use any piece of personal life information against them in the work world, but it is a trust that requires that they, your co-worker friends, are as vulnerable as you, whether they are on Facebook, or in real life, equipping you with as much “ammo” to use against them as they might do to you.
It is probably strictly paranoia that prevents me or makes me think twice about adding anyone to my Facebook, but I certainly do think about the consequences of adding someone at work to add me to Facebook. It becomes far easier to add co-workers to Facebook when you no longer work together, and then the shields can come down, and trust can be more easily obtained.
Facebook is a place where I refuse to list any professional information about my workplaces or jobs I have held in the past. I get many “friends” whom I worked with in the past stating that we worked together at X company, but I really do not care to display that type of relationship to anyone. That type of relationship is between me and that person. Maybe it is my own paranoia, but it seems that adding too much information to Facebook is just another way to make yourself completely vulnerable to the public, whether it be the general public, a stalker, the government, FBI, or CIA.
While I will not list any personal information on Facebook, I am not quite sure why I have no problem listing it on LinkedIn for all to see. Anyone can search my profile and find out my past jobs that I have worked. Is this safe information to know? If I linked this information to Facebook, would it affect me in any way? If I accidentally posted an embarrassing photo of myself on Facebook, could this be used against both my Facebook and LinkedIn?
As great as the idea sounds about putting as much personal information about ourselves into a single profile on a semi-public website seems as if we do not mind or care that anyone knows our name, knows where we work, knows our friends, and may even know where we live, as Facebook does have the option to list this information. When accepting a friend request, accept with complete caution, especially if it is a co-worker or a boss!
No one needs to know everything about you, including where you work, where you live, or who you date. There is just some information that is best left offline and for no one to know about. The more people know about you, the more they can use against you. It is certainly okay to supply some information about yourself, but keep it limited to protect yourself from any and all possible situations that could arise by sharing too much information with people.