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Facebook is one of the most popular platforms for online socializing and building relationships. While the older generation keeps their personal and professional relationships separate they believe that millennials do not – hence they have coworkers as friends on Facebook and other social networking sites.
But many people are either unaware of them or do not fully understand the ramifications of the online activities – this includes sharing their page and their personal lives with their co-workers. What you do on your own time is no longer your own personal business – since you add co-workers to your friend list, the lines between work and your personal life become blurred.
If coworkers become friends
Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily so. If coworkers become friends then it is easier to work together, it builds team spirit and improves the work environment. And as millennials move from one job to another or go solo and work on a freelance basis, their personal and professional worlds collide and their vast circle of past and present coworkers become friends and friends become coworkers. Forming personal bonds outside of the office can build camaraderie quickly. Also colleagues and bosses may become close friends, so keeping in touch online will become a natural extension of your relationships.
While this is a major plus there are reasons to exercise caution when deciding to friend coworkers on social networking sites. The biggest drawback of Facebook and company is that confidentiality and privacy go out of the window. Even when you think your posts are secure and private, that is not so. Your activities become public because Facebook has a system whereby when someone reacts to your posts (comments, likes, shares them), those not on your friend list also become privy to them.
When you post something politically incorrect
Freedom of speech also comes back to bite you when you least expect it – anytime you post something politically incorrect about your job, your boss, your colleagues remember that it may get read by those you have been castigating and it will in all probability negatively affect your evaluation, your promotion, your salary hike or it may get you thrown out of your job.
Coworkers may revise their opinion about you depending on the kind of posts you favor – you could become more popular but conversely you can lose goodwill and trust if your coworker-friends disapprove of what you post. In addition if you have a positive interaction on Facebook with your boss, others may be envious and assume that you are the favored employee.
Share just about everything
Millennials are connected to too many coworkers and they share just about everything happening in their lives – their interests, personality, activities, plans & programs are all exposed on Facebook and this can negatively impact their image in the eyes of the boss and coworkers.
The smart thing to do is to assume that whatever you post, share, like or comment on, on Facebook will be seen by workplace colleagues, including your boss and other seniors. Exercise caution when accepting or inviting coworkers to be friends. Show restraint in your Facebook activities, be smart about what you post or share or like – do not give a chance to anybody to bring you down. Think hard before adding friends who can ruin your reputation. Do not associate with people who post content that is racist, mean, hurtful or downright stupid – it will make you look bad.
And remember that t is really is much more important to have your co-workers trust and respect you than to have them as Facebook friends.