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I’m Sorry. We Can’t Be Friends Anymore

March 5, 2015

Rodney, you unfriended me.

Yeah, sorry about that. It’s nothing personal.

Well then what was it?

I’m never facebook friends with people I work with..

Of course, no discussion of social media would be complete with out discussing facebook. Everyone seems to use it. But, is it a business tool? 

We don’t normally think of it that way. It’s full of ads, so someone is making money on it. For me, I choose to distance my facebook usage as far from business as possible. You cannot avoid it any more than you can decide your cell phone is not for business calls. What are you going to do when someone calls your phone about business? Hang up on them? 

I won’t try sell you on facebook. You either love it, hate or you’re over the age of 80. But, I will share with you three rules that I use in my facebook usage. 

No friends

Okay, I have tons of facebook friends. Some of them are actually people I’ve met, but I’m not friends with people I work with. We’ve all heard stories of someone who’s lost a job or lost a lot in their divorce because they vented on facebook. And I guess that’s part of it. But, for me, I just don’t want the worry.

When I managed a team, I told them team to not try to friend me. I don’t want to have someone call in for a sick day and then read their facebook post about going skiing, or being hung over, or whatever. I know managers who really wanted to know that kind of information. But, as a manager, I never looked for a reason to fire people. I hired people to do a job. What they did on the weekend, or what they did on a day that the company granted them time off, I didn’t really want to know. 

Did people take advantage of that? 

I’m sure they did. But, here’s the thing. If someone did a good job for me, I don’t begrudge them a mental health day. If someone didn’t do a good job, their attendence policy is the least of their issues. 

No Pictures Please

Earlier this week I talked about Why I Don’t Tell Other People’s Stories. I explained that I don’t use names. When it comes to facebook, I rarely post pictures of people. It’s the same concept as the stories. Maybe you’re wife didn’t know that we went to a ballgame this afternoon. Maybe, you told her we had to work late. I don’t want to be the one to break it to her. 

And with my own brood, I never post pictures. At least not of the kids under the age of 18. My teenagers do not have facebook accounts. They won’t until they can buy their own computer. That’s typically when they are on their way to college. 

It’s more of the stories idea. I don’t want to decide for them that their picture will be well known. I realize that others disagree. I have a friend who has posted at least 3 pictures of her daughter since the girl was a baby. She’s now 5. If she wants to do that, it’s up to her. But, for my kids, they can decide what to post when they are adults.

Rodney’s Not in Right Now

I enjoy facebook. I spent hours debating politics with a group of Liberal and Conservative friends in a private group. But, I do not know how to balance facebook with work. I read it at home. When I get to work, I don’t touch it. 

Of course, this blog posts to facebook every morning at 7:00 AM MST. And occasionally I’ll come home to find an entire conversation happened around one of my posts. But, it’s a rule that helps me keep the two lives separate. 

Many people build successful businesses on facebook. I understand that it can be a business tool. For me, it’s one more outlet for my writing and a diversion to visit with friends. 

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the social media platform that I do use for business. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild. 
Follow him on Twitter (@rodneymbliss
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