To friend or not to friend?

Survey shows many executives uncomfortable being friended by business contacts on Facebook

Here’s some “friend”-ly advice for those interested in reaching out to work colleagues on Facebook: Proceed with caution. More than six in 10 senior managers surveyed by OfficeTeam said they are uncomfortable being friended by their bosses (68 percent) or the employees they supervise (62 percent), up from 47 percent and 48 percent of respondents, respectively, in a similar survey conducted in 2009. In addition, nearly half (49 percent) of those recently polled prefer not to connect with co-workers on Facebook, compared to 41 percent in 2009.

The survey, developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm, and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

Managers were asked, “How comfortable would you feel about being friended by the following individuals on Facebook?” Their responses:

“People have different comfort levels when it comes to social media, so it’s best not to blanket colleagues with friend requests,” says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Along with being selective about who you ask to connect with online, you should always post prudently. You don’t want to share information that could reflect poorly on you.”

Hosking adds, “Although some people are hesitant to reach out to business contacts via social networks, there can be a benefit to doing so — if you approach it the right way.”

OfficeTeam offers five tips for determining if you should connect with co-workers on Facebook:

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