Dear Dawn… Facebook Friend – The Answer
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Dear Dawn… Facebook Friend – The Answer

Dear Dawn… Facebook Friend – The Answer

Gulf Business’ leadership expert, Dawn Metcalfe, answers the eighth question in the series.


After another week of discussion and comments the Gulf Business agony aunt Dawn Metcalfe gives her expert opinion on the latest question in the series.

The query last week was:

Dear Dawn,

My colleague has just been given a warning because of a comment he made on Facebook. I love Facebook, Twitter and all kinds of social media and don’t want to stop using them but I don’t want to get fired either. What advice can you give me?


Facebook Friend

And here is Dawn’s expert opinion:

Dear Facebook Friend,

Social media is new and we’re all still trying to work out the best way to use it personally and professionally, but it can be a steep learning curve.

As Alan Devereux says in the comments you’re right to be concerned as people have lost their job by “friending” indiscriminately on Facebook or showing a side of themselves online that they should have kept private.

Social media etiquette can be even trickier. How do you tell your boss you don’t want him to be your friend on Facebook when you’ve already accepted friend requests from half the office?

Here are some tips to make sure that your social media activities don’t hurt you.

1. Make use of your privacy settings.
Make use of the limited profile facility in your privacy settings on Facebook. This allows you to group people together and manage what they can see on your page.

2. Consider the business you’re in.
The more conservative the industry you work in, the more careful you need to be about what share on Facebook. What is acceptable behaviour for a DJ is not necessarily acceptable for a banker.

3. Use a bit of common sense.
If it is not something you’d be happy for your mother to see then don’t put it on Facebook, or at least don’t make it available to anyone with an internet connection.

4. Assess the kind of boss you work for.
If your boss is a party animal then pictures of you out on the town could actually strengthen your relationship, but if your boss is straight-edge then they most certainly won’t.

5. Using different media for different people.
If you don’t want your boss as your friend on Facebook set up a LinkedIn account and proactively invite him to connect with you. LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site and so your activities there are likely to be different from those on FaceBook

6. Read your organisation’s social media policy.
Assuming your company has one, this is a very important document. If they don’t, then suggest that they consider creating one so that everyone knows where they stand and what is acceptable behaviour.

Good luck!


The next professional query for week nine is now live and open for comment and debate. Follow the link here to participate.

Send your questions for Dawn anonymously to [email protected] and see them answered here next time.

Dawn Metcalfe is the managing director of Performance Development Services (PDS). Find out more at


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