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 I tried to search around and didn't find anything related to this, but I can't imagine I'm the first either.  

I am one of the top people in my company and a Director.  We are smaller, about 100 full time staff, however, I also manage our Facebook and social media presence.  Weeks ago, we got the owner onto Facebook, and I added him into my 'work' Facebook account.  

This past week he started trying to add my personal account.  I have ignored it, until today, feeling that I have every right to keep my work and personal lives separate.  I had a 'call me' email, and when I called, it turned into a conversation about how I had alienated him by ignoring the request, and that by not allowing him to be a friend on my personal account, how can he trust me with company credit card's, and responsibilities, if he cannot see my FB profile.  I told him that I did not think of this as any sort of a personal attack, but rather a decision I had previously made to keep both separate.  He said that he wants this to be used not to see what is being said, but to improve his personal relationships (why I have the work account/email/phone he can also contact).  The nature of the work puts me in close contact with co-workers all the time (shared apartments, shared hotel rooms, etc...), so i feel like this was one of my little bubbles I could keep.  I don't have crazy pictures, or really any comments or things I want to cover up. I just don't want to have my boss monitoring what is closer to my personal life.  I know there are ways to restrict his ability to see wall posts and comments, but if I do that now, he will start a second wave of interrogation on why he can't see comments/updates/etc...  

 

While I do have a couple of very close work friends that have been friends even prior to being with this company, I have a couple that added me when I first started and are on my 'limited view' list, that still show up, but don't see my updates, most pics, etc... 

 

He told me that because of this development over the last week, he doesn't feel like he can email, or even pick up the phone to talk about things, because he feels so distraught over this.  

I finished the call, not by saying, "Okay, I'll be your friend," but rather, "I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to express your concerns to me, however, it is not intended to be a personal attack, but rather an attempt to keep my personal life and work life separate.  I will definitely consider this, but I also feel this shouldn't affect our professional relationship."  

Apparently, this similar discussion happened with 3 others of similar stature in our company, and I do not feel it was done professionally, when I initially stated that I have a work account that I have 'friended' him on.  Any feedback on how to handle this, or should I leave it as it stands?  I just fear that this would for some reason cost me my job, which I also don't want.  

tlhausmann's picture

Hmmm. This is a tricky situation. If I understand what you say above then (1) You're boss has drawn a conclusion about you because you declined to 'friend' him, and (2) you fear that persisting in your refusal may cost you your job.

I recommend you accept the friend request.

Unfortunately, your delay to accept the request already led your boss to (apparently) draw the conclusion you have something to hide. You may wish to review:

http://www.manager-tools.com/2008/07/the-myspace-cast-part-1-of-2

http://www.manager-tools.com/2008/07/the-myspace-cast-part-2-of-2

To the extent possible the content posted in social networking sites ought to be "resume safe."  Further, in one of the above casts the MT guidance is to assume your boss, at some point, will see your personal page. Look, even one of Horstman's laws is "There Are No Secrets."

jhack's picture

You  "got the owner onto Facebook".   And, you "have a couple of very close work friends that have been friends .. prior" AND you "have a couple [of coworkers] that added me when I first started."

A week ago, he tries to friend you and you've ignored his request. 

You're surprised that he feels slighted?   

When you got him to sign up, did you provide some guidance on etiquette and convention?  Did you discuss that you had a work and a private Facebook, and how you are trying to keep them separate?  

Owners of small businesses often feel like their firms are "family."  They often want a relationship with their directs.  At executive levels, the lines between professional and personal lives blurs. 

All that said, to get you to see things through his goggles. 

I've been resisting the tide of professional / personal intermingling on Facebook, but alas, I can see it's a lost cause.  There's always someone in the gray area, a trusted colleague, and from there, the slippery slope heads downward. 

Have you listened to the "The MySpace Cast?"  http://www.manager-tools.com/2008/07/the-myspace-cast-part-1-of-2   

Of course, your question is really:  what do I do now?   Here's my advice:  

- Clean up your facebook.  Tonight. 

- Apologize to the owner.  Tomorrow.   ( Great advice here:  http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/10/do-you-need-to-apologize )

- Accept his invitation.  Immediately thereafter. 

Yeah, it's a tough bolus to swallow.  Your personal facebook is now going to have to be your professional one.  Funny thing is, it kinda always has been...

John Hack

asteriskrntt1's picture

I would add to the great advice above creating a new account.  I have a buddy who is fairly high up in a Federal Agency and has security clearance/safety issues to consider. So he has his FB account that everyone can be a friend on and posts very occasionally on.  Then he has his account that is only for relatives and very close friends.  That account is nailed down to the hilt.  It is a bit more work but it gets the job done.