It’s common for coworkers to become “friends” on the more casual and personal social networking sites. However, be wary of who you decide to be connected with and don’t be afraid to decline invitations to connect. Just explain to the requester that you don’t share your personal profile to coworkers, they’ll understand. By becoming “friends” you have completely opened up your personal life to your coworkers, past, present, and future. Would you let some of your coworkers walk straight into your home? In some cases, being online “friends” doesn’t fair well for many.
Case in point, I have seen jealousy and negativity arise amongst coworkers from different departments who are connected through social sites. While some people you think you know at work seem to have a warm and friendly personality, they may actually be putting up a facade.
For example, posting about a promotion you received at work. If your coworkers see that post, they may be congratulating you on the outside, but deep inside, it’s probably more like, “What the heck, I work twice as hard as her and I never get promoted.” True, it’s none of their business on what you post, but you’ve blurred the lines of separation between your personal and professional life.
Here’s another example, posting about going on a business trip to an exotic place. Some of your coworkers may think, “What the heck, I never get to go leave the office, that’s not fair!.”
Eventually, jealousy sets in for some people and they start to talk around the office to others. That’s how rumors start and you know how people just love to spread gossip. If you’re going to connect online with a coworker, it’s much better to connect through a professional networking site because the boundaries of such a site are much better understood between parties.
“Friend” your coworkers at your own risk.