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Be Careful about who you call your friend

You all know that I use Twitter on occasion and the same holds true about Facebook. Those of you that know me also know I am the shy retiring type of person who never speaks their mind. That means that I won’t use Twitter or Facebook to their full potential, but at least I won’t bore you will the details of every aspect of my life….like you really care anyhow. When I first joined Facebook, I would get friend requests from people I kind of knew. They were were acquaintances or people that I would routinely encounter in my business. Since I was new to this whole social networking thing, I didn’t want to be rude so I accepted all of their “friend” invitations. Unfortunately a few of those so called “friends” would post a bunch of dribble that demonstrated they had no life beyond social networking. Now I had a dilemma. Since it is probably considered to be more rude to “unfriend” someone that it is to have ignored their friend request in the first place, how to get rid of those posts. The solution was to create two lists. One is the “People I really give a darn about” list and the other is everyone else. (In case you’re wondering, of course, you are on the first list.) Since I have two lists, I always try to be cognizant of what I say on Facebook so I don’t offend anyone who is my “friend.” I also try to be cognizant of what I post, because I don’t want a present or future client, misinterpreting something that I posted. Some people don’t get that concept. Take the following for example: Lindsay, forgot she accepted a friend invitation from her boss, when she let go of the following tirade on Facebook:

“OMG, I HATE MY JOB! My boss is a total pervvy wanker always making me do s— stuff.”

Five hours later her boss responded as follows:

“…I guess you forgot about adding me on here? Firstly, don’t flatter yourself. Secondly, you’veworked here 5 months and didn’t work out that I am gay? I know I don’t prance around the office like a queen, but it’s not exactly a secret. Thirdly, that “s— stuff” is called your ‘job’, you know, what I pay you to do. But the fact that you seem able to f— up the simplest tasks might contribute to how you feel about it. And lastly, you also seem to have forgotten that you have 2 weeks left on your 6 month trial period. Don’t bother coming in tomorrow. I’ll pop your P45 in the post, and you can come in whenever you like to pick up any stuff you’ve left here. And yes, I’m serious.”

Ouch!!! Firing people over their web posting (doocing) has become commonplace and the trend will continue. Recently, in Canada, an aesthetician was fired on Facebook. Illegal? Probably not. Bad taste? Definitely. Here’s the bottom line. If you are going to spew venom co-worker or boss, don’t do it in a public forum such as Facebook, MySpace, or any other social networking site. (When I was a teen the worst you could do was to write something on a bathroom stall. That was the 70’s equivalent of social networking.) Just as important, think before you friend.

Employers should consider the following in light of the popularity of social networking:

1. Consider implementing a social networking policy.

2. Think before you friend. If you are in a supervisory position, consider whether it is advisable to send a friend request to subordinates or coworkers. Remember, that some employees may feel you have placed them in a position where they are required to accept your friend request. Also, consider who it is that your sending the friend requests to. As a manager or owner are your friend requests indicative of favoritism or bias on your part and can your statements made on a social networking site be used as fodder for a harassment or discrimination complaint?



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