Friday, September 11, 2009

To "friend or not to friend" That is an interesting question!

I noticed that there is a Twestival in my home town this evening. What's
a twestival you say? Or... at least that's what I asked and read further to find that it's a gathering of those who TWEET.... a Twestival = people coming physically together to tweet about their favorite topics, and in this evening's case it is about one of my favorite NGO's! Direct Relief International.

To learn more you can visit or

Tonight's Twestival is to raise awareness and build networks of Tweeters who care about Direct Relief International's important mission to enable better health around the world. Quite a worthy cause and the NGO utilizes both old world communications and today's social media. (Old world means I actually attended a real, in person strategic planning and development meeting yesterday at their world headquarters and the day before I attend a "gotomeeting" via phone and my pc for another committee meeting.

You can get on board and make a big difference in your speed networks and your social contributions.

Now, How about "Friending" your boss?

Social networking is invading the office. The issue used to be,
"Which friends will I 'friend?'"
But what about when the boss wants to friend you?
And what about the other side of the coin—should you friend the boss?
What about co-workers? Vendors? Clients?

A recent survey suggests that friending in these situations often makes
people uncomfortable. But, because it's not always avoidable, the survey's
developers—OfficeTeam—suggest setting up some different levels of friends,
so that the people from the office don't see pictures from your social life that
may not be appropriate for the office.

Survey says ...

OfficeTeam is a staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled
administrative professionals. Their survey was conducted by an independent
research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 150 randomly selected
senior executives at the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "How comfortable would you feel about being 'friended'
by the following individuals on Facebook?"
Their responses:

Boss Co-workers Reports Clients Vendors
Very comfortable
19% 13% 12% 7% 6%
Somewhat comfortable 28% 38% 32% 34% 23%
Not very comfortable 15% 13% 15% 17% 24%
Not comfortable at all 32% 28% 33% 33% 38%
Don't know 6% 8% 8% 9% 9%

"The line between personal and professional has grown increasingly blurred
as more people use social networking websites for business purposes," said
Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. He said that managers,
even if they aren't going to connect with business contacts on social networking
sites, need to be prepared to deal with requests for friending and such.

Hosking advises managers and employees to familiarize themselves with privacy
settings and create different friend lists to control how—and with whom—information
is shared. "Individuals should classify their professional contacts into a 'work' list and
limit what personal details this group can view," said Hosking.

Following are some common Facebook situations professionals may encounter—and OfficeTeam's recommendations for handling them:

• You're tagged in an embarrassing photo. Untag yourself and change your privacy settings so photos are viewable only by your close friends.

• You're friended by someone you don't want to connect with.
It might be best to accept friend requests from colleagues to avoid slighting them,
but add them to a "work" list and adjust your privacy settings so you can effectively
separate your job from your personal life.

• You're considering friending your boss. It may seem like a natural extension
of amiable office small talk, but think twice before proactively friending your
boss. It could become awkward for both of you.

• You want to join various groups. You should join groups that interest you.
But if you have colleagues in your network and don't want them to see the
groups you join, remember to adjust your application settings.

• You would like to be a fan of certain pages. Becoming a fan of pages on
Facebook is visible to anyone who can view your profile, so you should avoid
becoming a fan of any page you are uncomfortable sharing with coworkers or
business contacts in your network.
• You love quizzes. Stop and think for a mo
ment before taking online quizzes and posting the results to your
Facebook page—unless you want professional contacts to know which
Gilligan's Island character you most resemble.

Patty's note:

Use "old world" wisdom today...... Don't say or write anything that you are not
willing to have show up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. This is a pretty
effective governor and if used as your guide will save plenty of embarrasing and potentially career derailing moments!