What role does Facebook play in workplace friendships?

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The Institute for Public Relations is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in public relations and corporate communication practice.  I subscribe to its newsletter and have found it to be very informative.

A recent article caught my attention, My Colleagues are my Friends:  The Role of Facebook Contacts in Employee Identification.

The study looked at the role Facebook plays in creating stronger relationships between co-workers that are also friends on Facebook.  The results showed that if employees experience their online colleagues on Facebook as “real” friends, they are more committed to their individual departments.  And if that colleague happens to be someone in authority, then that further enhances the commitment to the overall organization.

This is interesting research to me in the fact that I know there are several colleagues of mine “in authority” that have made it a personal rule not to be friends on Facebook with their employees.  We’re a close-knit team here at HMA and I think part of that closeness comes from the interactions that take place after-hours online.

That said, like all social media, you need to create your own personal rules around what you’ll share and with whom.  So whether you align with the research findings or err on the side of privacy, there is no question that Facebook has once again found its way into how we interact in the workplace.

You can read the full story here.


Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

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