With the rise of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms, the line between personal and professional life is becoming more unclear.
Nearly two in three (64%) HR Directors in Hong Kong surveyed by finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm Robert Half indicated that that they feel comfortable being “friended” or connecting on social media with their bosses, or their colleagues (85%).
“The survey findings suggest that social media platforms, such as Facebook, are no longer only used for personal connection with family and friends, but are increasingly important for professional networking as well," says Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half in Hong Kong. "As some industries or companies are more engaged in digital networking than others, one can take cue from others before sending out “friend” requests.
It is also important to focus on activities that are business-related. For example, one may write a post about a new accounting mobile application that he or she has been testing at work, tweet links to articles on finance and accounting trends, or use Facebook to connect with a contact who will attend the same seminar event as. These activities can help to boost one’s professional reputation, grow his or her network and advance the career.”
When asked about the comfort level of being “friended” on Facebook by people they manage, 73% of the respondents said they are either very comfortable or somewhat comfortable.
“With the lines between professional and personal life becoming more blurred, it is important to give careful consideration on social media interaction as inappropriate online behavior could harm one’s professional image. Creating separate profiles for social and professional purposes could be an option to consider for keeping one’s Facebook profile away from the public eye,” Anand adds.
Anand also recommends the following on managing one’s social media presence at work:
· Respect the wall. If one does not want everyone in his or her network to read a post, do not put it on his or her wall, or anyone else’s wall. If there are any concerns about others seeing a comment, send an email or use Facebook’s messaging feature instead.
· Avoid venting. Some people continue to make the mistake of posting negative comments or gossiping about their employers, colleagues, or any other sensitive topics. Do not do it – chances are the wrong set of eyes will stumble upon the negative remarks.
· Ask before you tag. Check with people before tagging them in photos, especially if they might not appreciate it, and do not tag someone else’s photo with a business pitch unless permission has been sought.
· Heed company guidelines. Many companies have policies about how their employees use social media sites and present themselves online. It is wise to follow any such rules explicitly, as well as limit personal usage of social media at work.