Are your Facebook posts sending a message to your boss and co-workers that will affect your job?
If you’re anything like me, you are probably tired of your coworkers wanting to be the next Kardashians of social media, from their kid’s first potty training to the gourmet meal they had for dinner, I have had it. And this doesn’t even include their political positions, which I am not even going to mention. Seeing some of my coworkers’ posts over the last few months has just been too much for my tender heart. The truth is though that social media has long been a source of tension in workplaces. First, allow me to explain my theory on social media and how it gets its tentacles intertwined in the workplace. As I see it, all social media--Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine (R.I.P), Peach (might as well R.I.P.), whatever else--in essence, has the same goal. Each is a way to share bits of our lives with people who show their interest by choosing to follow us. It seems like a fairly straightforward contract, but it can very easily get corrupted. You see, some of my colleagues are real bores--and others are far worse--on social media. They have nothing interesting to share and they either want to appear smarter or more interesting than they are by constantly posting their political views, or they don’t even try to hide how boring they are and resort to throwing anodyne garbage into the limitless ether that is the internet. Reading these posts is a car wreck, yet I slow down to read them anyway. Without fail, I come away amazed by the breadth and depth of my coworkers’ (and friends, I must admit) stupidity--it’s not just the substance of the posts that are astonishing, but the very fact that they decide to post this nonsense in the first place. None of this is new, people for generations have slowly come to the realization that they don’t like people who they thought they knew, it is just that social media has brought it to us faster than ever before. One post on a Thursday evening is all it takes. So, that’s what social media is, a way for us to see into other people’s lives, for better or worse. And for a million different reasons this is not a useful thing to mesh with a workplace.
Now, I understand that telling everyone to refrain from social media interactions with coworkers is silly. This is the new normal; we live in a world where screens tell us more than lunch dates. So, I won’t tell you to refrain from engaging completely. Instead, my main piece of advice to everyone is to be very careful about what you post if you’re friends with people from your work. I am very careful not to over-post or post things that will make people uncomfortable on my public Facebook page, and everyone needs to be careful about this too because everyone can see what you’re saying. As someone that makes a living on TV and has a public profile, I have two versions of all the social media that I use. My personal Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook profiles are private and only for my friends and family. Based on the number of questions I get on this topic, it is obvious to me that I don’t want my employees or coworkers to have access to my personal Facebook. I know that not everyone is willing to invest in having multiple social media accounts on multiple platforms, but it’s the only surefire way to ensure that people aren’t seeing what you don’t want them to see.
Now, for those of you who are terribly disturbed by some of your coworkers’ posts, but it’s too late to disengage or unfriend them completely: look away! Mute them, choose to remove their stories from your Newsfeed or timeline, don’t watch the videos they post. Like I wrote before, I know how tempting it can be to look at the pure, unfiltered garbage someone you know posts and think about how better you are than them, but I guarantee you it will make it that much harder to look them in the face the next day at work. Please, let’s not make this any harder than it needs to be people, look away!
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