Friend or Foe? Colleagues on Social Media


Sure, you like your colleagues; you enjoy their quirky jokes in the mornings, the notorious gossip session here and there, but do you really want your desk-buddy to see your party photos after a night out?

We aren’t saying that all your photos will make for awkward conversations, but how much do you really want your co-workers to know about your personal life when you walk out of the office. Let’s break down the social channels with a few pros and cons about each social platform;

LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter
These are mostly professional platforms, where co-workers and bosses are often connected. Unless you are on a private setting for Twitter, your tweets are fair game to anyone wanting to read them. Google+ is a professional platform, like LinkedIn. There are no real cons here, as these platforms often give more pros than anything else.

One of the fastest growing social channels across the globe, Instagram is your go-to photo gallery to see how people live their lives. This online photo album can be a bit awkward when your colleagues are looking at your selfies, or your extravagant living habits on the weekends. If you’re worried about this, then change your setting to private. Instagram does not give people notifications if you do not accept their follow request.

However, if you are followed by a co-worker, it could get awkward if you do not follow back. There are a few more cons here than pros; if you feel uncomfortable sharing pictures of your life with others – your best bet here is to make your account private.

Facebook is a tricky social channel – although your co-workers won’t know if you ignore the friend request, or decline it, they will find out that you aren’t connected if they look to tag you in any photos. Although social media feels like high school again, the pros and cons here are slightly more complex. You don’t necessarily want all your co-workers on this platform, as it is often times highly personal.

There is a brand new social etiquette in 2017; you cannot ignore friend requests indefinitely, nor can you let co-workers follow you on platforms and not follow them back. Here is our rule of thumb when it comes to social media relationships with your co-workers – if you are invited, you have little-to-no choice but to accept the friend request, or to follow back (that is unless you want this to come up in an awkward conversation one day).

A little trick, to keep you a little more sane, is to change your privacy settings. If you are nervous about embarrassing photos popping up online, put your co-workers on a restricted setting, rendering them unable to see your posts. Try not to stress too much about social media relationships; play it cool and you will maintain a healthy relationship at work.


First published on the Business Essentials Blog.