Your Boss Is Not Your Friend
I was recently alerted to a couple posts regarding whether or not you should link your boss as a "friend" on Myspace or other social networking site. Apparently it all stemmed from a Wall Street Journal article, "OMG -- My Boss Wants to 'Friend' Me On My Online Profile." Lisa Barone then posted her blog, "Your Boss Is Not Your Friend."
As a boss, I can certainly understand the fear that this would have with some employees. I have worked for a few companies myself where the boss is certainly not my "friend." But then, those bosses wouldn't ask to be my friend and most probably wouldn't be on a social network to begin with. I also live by a golden rule my mother beat into me that states don't write anything I wouldn't want her to read. Therefore, that eliminates the pictures of me doing keg stands or other graphical representations or writings that may give a potential employer/employee a bias against me should they google my name.
Googling people is prevelent and it is amazing what you can find out about people with a little search. Of course, my background as a Private Investigator gives me a little insight as to where to search as well. Maybe employers shouldn't be worried about a picture of a keg stand as much as they should be validating education and past employment backgrounds.
In todays technological society, college students and people entering the job market or working for technology companies are fully aware of the power of the Internet and how nothing is sacred. Unfortunately, that Spring Break in Cancun where you ended up on the "Girls Gone Wild" video is going to follow you around forever. Regardless if your the girl or the cheering guy.
All Web Promotion is a fairly small company with only 10 of us. Because of our small size, we tend to be a bit more personal. We often go out together and know quite a bit about each other. Me being the "boss" is included in that. Employees know as much about me as I know about them. I don't think twice about what the employees do and don't feel it's my responsibity or my even my place to question what is done outside working hours. I feel I've done my job by hiring qualified people who will represent All Web positively and professionally.
Don't forget the employees should be googling employers as well. The emplyee should be looking to see if the potential workplace is agreeable to there beliefs and standards.
The whole purpose of the social networking scene is to network and be social. It's not all work. Don't be afraid of rejection. I don't have everything in common with employees and if they don't want me as a friend, they should feel comfortable in rejecting me as I might reject them. I want my Myspace account to reflect a business type atmosphere and will not accept friends for the sake of bulking my friend list.
Who to accept as a friend and what you post online should be based upon your own personal beliefs and be based upon what you want portrayed. If you feel proud to be selected as the covergirl for "Girls Gone Wild," stand up and be proud. But remember to live in the real world. That image may not fit with the job you are applying for or the people you will be around. Some things that might fit your lifestyle don't fit others and when multiple people have to be side by side for any length of time, some things are best left to the appropriate time and place. You don't have to be an open book at work. That what makes us all different and exciting.
So in closing, keep everything about you in the closet. Just kidding. Everyone has skeletons and different belief systems. I'll leave you with a golden rule of your own, "If you don't want to know the answer. Don't ask the question."