I’ve been spending more time on Facebook lately. You might remember how I loathed the ubiquitous digital enterprise not so long ago. I found it uninteresting, redundant and a waste of time. Not much has changed, but I am growing more used to it and finding more advantages to being involved. Primarily I use Facebook for the free and inexpensive online marketing opportunities (a Fan Page I built and currently administer for my company). Naturally I won’t link to it here, as I like to keep my work and my private life as separate as possible.
Which leads me to my next point. I’m now thinking that I should use Facebook more for my personal life and invite more people I know less well into my circle. I’m stuck between adding friends who are actually colleagues or acquaintances from work, versus maintaining what is now just a core of real-life friends. Sorry, but having moved 3 cities in the last 6 years and gone career crazy in the last 5, I don’t have a lot of good friends outside of work. I doubt many people do anyway. Most of my private Facebook account friends are family members, with a select few who I would call real friends. Those I might have over for dinner, or ask me to help move furniture (the latter a true test of friendship).
In trying not to blur or cross the line between work and the private life, I’m mixed as to whether to tear down the wall and invite my better work colleagues into my personal thoughts and musings, or to keep it steadfast and suffer from quite modest friend numbers (and thus less news and conversation traffic). Sometimes I spout off about work or things related to it, and I’m less inclined to watch what I say instead of watching who I say it to. Furthermore, I’m not the kind of person who would add a friend to my network who I’d met just once unless there was the real possibility of a longer term connection taking place.
So to those who I’ve recently Friended, congrats I suppose – you’re a member of an elite group. To others, don’t hate me because I didn’t accept your invite, nor think of me differently because I haven’t sought you out. I simply don’t view Facebook the way most people do where every social (or corporate) contact point is a reason to link online. I actually want my Friends to be my friends. Is this the new-age work/life balancing act?
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I faced the exact same situation two years ago when I started my new job in Vancouver. I also wanted to keep the walls up and not mix my personal life with my work life. Or so I thought. A year passed and I developed close friendships with a select group of coworkers. After attending various social events unrelated to work outside of the office I caved and accepted a handful of friend requests, mainly because I wanted to share photos and be a part of the conversations that were happening. It wasn’t so bad at first but I wasn’t prepared for the flood of requests that followed from coworkers in other departments that I hardly knew. I didn’t want them having an inside track to my life and I definitely didn’t want to have to think twice about a status update. I suddenly found myself getting well acquainted with privacy controls and the limited profile settings which made me second-guess breaking down the wall in the first place. Do I regret my decision? Sometimes. Has it changed the and way I use Facebook? Yes. And it’s probably the main reason why I keep my Twitter account on lock down. Because (call me crazy) I still want some kind of control over what I have to say and who gets to hear it. You’re right; it all comes down to balance, and finding what works for you. Don’t do it for the numbers. In friendship I think it’s quality over quantity and why should Facebook be any different? Whatever you decide, think it over because chances are they might notice should you ever want to unfriend them.
Good call. Good comment! Thanks Laurel.