Posts Tagged ‘Digg’

To Friend or Not to Friend

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The dilemmas of social media

Social networking has become very popular in the last few years. It seems that everyone and their grandmother has a Facebook or Twitter account. Hell, some people still use MySpace. This increasing popularity raises many questions of etiquette regarding when and what to share and who to friend or follow. So, where do you draw the line? My first instinct is to advise use of common sense, but I donít believe that the answer is that simple. It really does depend on the individual, but there are many considerations to be made before you post something.

Did you know that businesses are now taking to the web, especially social media sites, to stake out potential employees? Next time youíre punching up your resume, think about punching up your Facebook page and maybe dropping those pictures from that pub crawl you did last month. Sure, some employers are going to think that youíre fun and colorful; however, this is not likely.

Itís not just those seeking new employment that need to take this into consideration; these social media sites actually give an employer the right to check up on your personal life. Iíve worked in large offices for many years and there are plenty of things about my personal life that I did not wish to share with anyone in my workplace. So, is this invasion of privacy? Though some may disagree, I say absolutely not. If you put something on the web, unless you turn your privacy settings up to the max, youíre putting your information out there for anybody see. Should they do it? Once again, you may disagree, but I say it depends on the situation. Many people post their work information on their profiles and some employeesí deeds may be bad for business. Can you fire someone for something they posted online? Yes, and itís perfectly legal.

This brings to mind another question. Do you friend your co-workers or even your boss? This is where it gets hinky. Security settings will allow for an innocuous friendship, so you can avoid the awkward decision of whether or not to accept your bossí friend request. Accept it, but lock them out of what youíre actually posting. Or, you can choose to leave work at work and keep your social networking fun to between you and your buddies. If you do choose to friend your boss and/or co-workers, take caution. They might not care that you were dancing on the bar or doing body shots off of a stripper; but, when youíre playing hookie, you might want to stick to that story you used when you called in sick that morning. Donít mention how you went to the zoo, or whatever it is you do when you play hookie.

Then, of course, thereís whether or not you should recommend that your friends like your business. Maybe this is a personal endeavor or itís your day job. Discretion is key here. Personally, all of my friends are subject to these suggestions. Most of the people on my friends list understand who I am and what I do, so they either like it or ignore it. If you have a small business or youíre promoting your band, cast a wide net. If you donít want to impose, donít impose. But, think about this, why are these people on your friends list? Who are they to you and how do you know them? You donít have to suggest it to all of our friends, think of those who your suggestion may benefit most and start there.

It all comes down to discretion. Why are you on Facebook and/or Twitter? Social media is imperative in todayís tech-dependent society. What better way to get the word out? Social media today is the equivalent of standing on top of a soap box in a town square eighty years ago. Some people are going to stop and listen while others continue on their way. This is your voice with a much bigger amplifier.

Author - Michele Hale

Michele is an indie author and publisher from Austin, Texas. She loves roller derby, tattoos and science fiction. She is the founder of Cowgirlie Publishing and is currently working on a three-book sci-fi series due out in 2011.