Something new for Friday, June 10, 2011

For months, it sat waiting for me. A friend request on Facebook from a former boss. I debated back and forth. “Should I, or should I not confirm?”

Why shouldn’t I confirm her request? I’ve let total strangers become my friends on the social network site, including a  freelance writer from Pennsylvania, friends of friends of friends, and a middle-aged man who just happens to share my last name, lives in Switzerland and posts everything entirely in French.

I know, the logic doesn’t make any sense.

I let total strangers access my personal information, so why not a boss?

I just couldn’t bring myself to click the “accept” button. Instead, I banished her into limbo, neither accepting nor ignoring her request.

It begs the question, what do you do if your boss requests to be your friends on Facebook?

I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve posted on the social networking website.

I mostly post random YouTube videos, links to news stories and the cheat to unlock 30 extra lives in the videogame “Contra” (you know, just in case your forgot). 

There aren’t any half-naked photos of me, drunken status updates or any other skeletons in my Facebook closet.

But still, what happens if I slip an F-bomb into a status update?

Or what if someone tags me in one of their photos, and in that photo I look like a total dweeb?

Or what if she pokes me all the time, and tJhen I don’t poke her back, and then I’ve created this awkward poking/non-poking relationship?

But again, there could be advantages to friending a boss.

It opens the door to a more personalized relationship.

As a reporter, Facebook is an amazing tool. It’s my personal rolodex to connect with sources, musicians and organizations on the island.

My advice is if you find yourself in this awkward situation, check your privacy settings to ensure friends of friends can’t see your information. Also, it’s best to clean up the dirt on your Facebook. Realistically, once a photo or a status update is posted on the Internet, it stays imprinted online, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Obviously, you don’t have control over what other people post on your wall, so you may want to monitor it carefully to ensure stories about your wilder days aren’t shared virtually.

And if you do this, but still don’t want to be your boss’s friend, you can either chicken out like me and not accept it without a word, or be upfront and let your supervisor know why you are choosing not to befriend her.

In essence, it would be best if supervisors avoid this uncomfortable situation entirely by not friending anyone who reports directly to you. If your job doesn’t rely on social networking, befriending a subordinate seems a little desperate.

• Andrea Frainier, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or afrainier@ thegardenisland.com. ‘Something New’ appears every other week.

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