Could Connecting with Your Coworkers on Social Media Hurt Your Career?

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In today’s working world, having a strong professional network is a must. Many people use social media to connect with others in their industry, including their current coworkers.

But is connecting with your coworkers on social media a smart move? Could it even hurt your career? Before you reach out, here’s what you need to consider.

How You Use Social Media

Whether or not connecting with a coworker on social media could harm your career depends mainly on how you use the platform. Typically, LinkedIn is used solely for professional purposes, giving you a place to discuss your qualifications, shared information relevant to your industry or role, and network with other professionals in your field.

Generally, people don’t share a significant amount of details about their personal lives on LinkedIn. This means the odds that your coworkers will see something that harms their perspective on you is limited, though not impossible.

Facebook can be a riskier choice unless you maintain the profile purely for professional purposes. For example, if you share casual photos from your life or discuss personal matters or potentially controversial opinions, your coworkers will be privy to this information. Similarly, if you call out sick to work then post photos that show you were playing hooky, there could be repercussions. Discussing your dissatisfaction with your employer or boss on your social media account could also have a negative impact.

Ultimately, how you use social media plays a large role regarding the level of risk. If you solely use the account for professional purposes and steer away from controversial or divisive topics, you may be able to “friend” your coworkers safely. If not, then you need to understand that it could hurt your career.

Relationship Skewing

Connecting with coworkers on social media can also potentially skew the nature of the relationship. As mentioned above, LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, so it tends to assert that the connection is more about working than friendship. However, other options, including Facebook, may make the relationship seem more personal, depending on how it is interpreted by both parties.

This isn’t to say that you can’t be friends with coworkers. But, if that isn’t your intention, understand that inviting someone to view details from your personal life can alter how they see the relationship. If you must rebuke that perspective, then there could be some fallout.

Generally, limiting your social media exposure when you are dealing with coworkers is usually wise. If you do want to connect, make sure to choose a platform that you dedicate to professional networking, like LinkedIn, or profiles that only reflect you as a professional. Otherwise, it’s best not to invite coworkers to view your personal life, limiting the likelihood that something they see will come back to bite you.

If you are interested in learning more about connecting with coworkers on social media, the professionals at Bayside Solutions can help you navigate these tricky waters. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our experience can benefit you.