People should exercise caution when friending on Facebook

Though some workplaces are open forums for social interaction and can even be, dare I say it, fun, it’s imperative to always make the distinction between work and play. When faced with the decision to friend, or not to friend, one’s boss or co-workers on Facebook, there are several things to consider.

Facebook security settings can be hard to control. Whether people believe their Facebook pages to be secure or not, there are always ways for people to find personal information, should they really want to.

Even people who believe their Facebook pages are “clean” should always keep in mind the ways in which others can misconstrue certain things. In the online world, it’s not always easy to decipher the meaning of a statement or picture. And because workplaces are typically somewhere people spend a lot of time, no one would want hostility or awkwardness over a misconstrued comment or picture to interfere with anyone’s ability to work.

Whether or not people decide to friend their boss or co-workers on Facebook, they should always be prepared for the consequences. It’s easy to forget in a sea of hundreds of friends who exactly you’re friends with. Because Facebook is a social tool, things such as status updates are often used to keep your friends informed of the good and bad things taking place in your life. Should someone have a bad day at work, an absent-minded rant about the shortcomings of one’s company or supervisor probably wouldn’t sit well with that supervisor, or anyone else invested in the company’s image.

If you’re in a workplace where it’s commonplace to be friends with one’s boss and/or co-workers, feel free to do so. Just remember to never allow work to become so comfortable that professionalism is forgotten.

Projects editor Courtney Jay for the editorial board.