Friending your Coworkers: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Should you be friending coworkers on social media? This can be a tough question especially when it comes to the ag sector. It’s no secret that employment opportunities in the agriculture world happen over a burger and beer. Agriculture is a close knit community and it’s likely that you’re already friends on Facebook or Twitter with potential employers or coworkers. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of friending your coworkers.

The good

There are benefits to befriending your co-workers (even though the paragraphs below may scare you). It can be helpful to create bonds outside of the office walls, friendship can strengthen a team. The longer you spend with a company it is likely that you will become lifelong friends with your coworkers. You will find mentors at your job that will be with you throughout your career.

The bad

If you’re connected with coworkers it’s easy for hurt feelings to develop over not being invited to parties, irritation with political posts or differences in opinion over world events. Being friends with your employer can also be tricky, if they like and comment on posts it can be seen as favoritism adding to office politics.

Even if you’re careful about your posts, you can’t control what others do. If you don’t have your privacy set up correctly, anyone can tag you in a post or comment in a way that will hurt your reputation.

The ugly

There are many examples of people who lost their jobs because of social media post. It wasn’t long ago that a veterinarian was fired from her job after posting a photo of her shooting a feral cat with a bow and arrow. In Ohio a woman was fired from her job at Texas Road House after writing a post saying, “If you come into a restaurant and spend $50 or more, you should be able to tip appropriately.” There is definitely an argument for First Amendment Rights, but do you want to lose your job over an angry post on Facebook?

The two things that should guide your choice are: how do you share on Facebook and specifics of your job.

The choice is yours. If you’re not as active on Facebook, friend people on one platform but keep another platform for your personal life. Whatever you chose, don’t feel bad about your choice. It’s your life and you’re able to make your personal affairs as open or closed as you would like.

Let us know how you handle friending coworkers on social media.

Hannah Miller