Mixing Business and Pleasure on Facebook

As a writer by profession, I do have some former colleagues and acquaintances in the industry hiring me to do freelance jobs for them once in a while. Yes, we still have each other’s contact details, but the place where we really get to talk and update each other is through Facebook. Usually, they send me private messages there to inform me if there are some writing tasks for me.

Facebook-imageThe thing is, though, since we are chatting on Facebook – a place where people can just act normal and be themselves – I kind of expect chats or conversations to be more casual and carefree. Even if what we’re talking about is technically work, I still expect the mood to be lighter. It’s where colloquial words can be used unlike in emails or text messages. But am I wrong to assume this?

No Pleasantries
The reason why I ask this is because a former colleague from an advertising and events firm contacted me through Facebook about a freelance writing job she has for me. We’ve always been friendly towards each other, commenting on each other’s uploads and posts on Facebook and Instagram once in a while. And thanks to VoIP, we get to talk online about work, too. But recently, when she was hiring me for a freelance job, she was all serious talk. No pleasantries whatsoever.

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that she chose me over all the writers she knows. But what I was surprised about was the direct and professional tone she had when she messaged me. She pretty much just got down to business. At first, I thought that she was probably swamped with work or stressed about a deadline. But the more we talked about the project, the more I realized that she really just wasn’t feeling all chatty with me. My messages to her were filled with smileys and emoticons while hers were more direct and somewhat cold. It gave me the feeling that she may be annoyed with something and I can’t help but feel that it may be me she’s annoyed with. Yes, I know – paranoid me, right?

Work + Facebook = Potential Disaster
So what is it about Facebook and work that make them somewhat “incompatible” with each other? Am I the only one who thinks that Facebook and work shouldn’t go together?

Many will probably tell me that Facebook can be a huge help in terms of career, since it can really help you with expanding your professional network or getting you hired. But for me, this would only work if you don’t use your personal Facebook account. For me, using your personal Facebook account for work-related stuff is a big no-no, since doing so can blur that line between your personal and professional life.

You’ve probably heard many stories about how some people got sacked at work because of what they posted on Facebook, right? It’s okay to add workmates on Facebook, especially if you’re hanging out with each other even outside office hours. But to add your boss or direct superior on Facebook is a terrible idea. Believe me.

Mind Your Audience
What makes social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram appealing to many is the laidback feel to them. Vacation and party photos are most welcome. It doesn’t matter whether you upload photos of yourself chugging down as many bottles of beer as you can because, well, it’s YOUR page. But do this with your boss as one of your Facebook friends and you’re going to create an impression of you that’s way different from what you’re trying to exude at work. Sure, you can filter people and show your posts and uploads to only a certain group of people. But what if you get careless and upload things without filtering your audience first? What happens then?

This is the reason why I never want to mix Facebook and work ever again. I’ve had my share of “what-was-I-thinking” experiences on Facebook. So if you want to keep your page more fun and more YOU, it’s best if you don’t mix work with Facebook. Protect your personal space the way you protect your profession.

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