Fired by your Facebook “friend”

I worry about having co-workers as Facebook friends. In this stream of  consciousness, voyeuristic world – I don’t know that I want people I don’t know all that well to hear my inner most thoughts. I try and convince myself that I’m not embarrassed about my beliefs and my thoughts, but honestly a passing status change or Tweet are not enough for someone to determine who I am as a person, and I may be embarrassed at how they interpreted my thoughts.

I say all that because yesterday a Eagles game day worker was fired for posting the following on his Facebook page:

Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!”

I believe Dan deserved punishment, but the punishment seems out of line with the crime. I remind you that on Facebook, only those people who are your friends can see you posts (assuming that Dan didn’t have his page visible to everyone). The few people that could have seen what Dan wrote would have been limited if the Eagles had handled this with a little more deftness. Because they fired him, his comments have become much more read than if they had addressed them more appropriately. But again, he deserved to be punished – and if he hadn’t have done something so stupid, he wouldn’t be where he is.

Stupid…

Why? Apparently Dan had Eagles’ management as friends. At then end they’re not your friends – they’re your managers.

I decided to make some edits to my Facebook account a few weeks ago. I want to use it the way it’s supposed to be use – I vent there – I rant there – I say things meant for the eyes of people who know me well enough to have a filter. But I know there are people there who are barely  acquaintances and don’t know me well enough to understand and empathize. At the end of the day we all say things to get a reaction. What you don’t want is for the people listening to have any power over you and be able to react by exerting their control over your life.

At the very least here’s my recommendation to you – manage who your friends are very carefully.  Facebook is a great place to keep up and find friends from the past, but it’s also a place where many people share quite a bit of personal detail. A few thoughts:

  • It makes sense to draw a line between your personal life and work life.  If you’re going to allow co-workers to be your friend, then watch what you say.
  • It’s probably a good idea to keep management out
  • You can delete friends – it’s simple and they don’t know you did it (until they try and access your profile – and who has time for that)
  • If someone does notice – blame it on Facebook
  • Try and direct co-workers to  LinkedIn – that’s what it’s meant for

Facebook is only cool until it costs you a job. So be careful.

  • http://www.merujo.com Merujo

    I think I’m very fortunate. My boss reads my blog (and has since I first came on board at NatGeo) and swears in real life more than I do online. :) We actually kept in touch via Facebook during the two weeks he was home on “new-baby-daddy-duty” and I was stuck at home with Crappy Lung(tm.) But I am very careful about who I friend from the office. There are people high up in a variety of divisions who have wanted to friend me, and I ignore all their requests. No way. No how.

  • http://www.thewebpen.net/blog Howard

    Even yesterday I had some snarky status update that I wanted to do about something a co-worker did, but since she’s on my Facebook list, I decided to put it up would be completely passive-aggressive instead if just a funny way to vent.

    Instead, I’ll put it here if you will indulge me. “No matter how many data bytes I eat, I’m still not going to be able to shit out your missing email.”

  • http://fortyninepercenter.blogspot.com/ the fixer

    This is an interesting issue. It’s one I think you will see being argued in very high courts, at some point. The law is a nit nebulous on many issues concerning this.

    But, I think the bigger story here is how shameful the Eagles should feel for firing this man.

  • Spencer

    @the fixer – Seriously – I can’t understand why the Eagles continuously shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to PR.

    They should also feel shameful for how they treated Brian Dawkins. Whether or not you agree with the move to let him go, he deserved more respect than he got.

  • http://fortyninepercenter.blogspot.com/ the fixer

    I agree.

    I understand that sports is a business. I realize that there are harsh realities when it comes to that business.

    They just let Dawkins out through the side door like a delivery man.

    Now this?