If you have a Facebook profile, you have more than likely had at least one co-worker request to be a “friend.” At that moment, you had to decide if you were going to set a precedent and allow co-workers access to your personal life stream or risk confrontation by denying the request and keeping your personal and business life strictly separate. Although scores of advice has been offered on blogs and newsletters on why it is a good idea to friend co-workers and from others why it is a bad idea. In the end, the decision is up to you.

This week in Promotional Consultant Today, we are looking at social media, texting and email with co-workers. In today’s edition, Mark Bajus, author of TrapIt Blog, offers five questions you should ask yourself before accepting a co-worker’s friend request.

1. How do I prefer to interact with my professional network? Some people prefer phone calls, others emails and others meetings. If you are a person who maintains a professional presence on your social channels and this is your preferred method of interaction, then the decision is probably easy.

2. Do I share content about professional or personal topics on Facebook, or both? For some, Facebook is strictly a place to post personal pictures, thoughts, events and updates. For others, there is a mix of some proportion of personal information and business information or updates. If strictly personal, then you might be less likely to ‘friend’ a co-worker. If mixed between personal and business, you might be more likely to accept.

3. Is this person one of my superiors? Look at your past posts and consider if you are comfortable with your boss seeing these things. The answer to this should give the bigger question.

4. What is our work culture like? Some cultures are more permissive of blending personal and professional lives, while others are not. Think about your culture and whether what you post on Facebook would acceptable at conversations in the office or in off-hours gatherings.

5. Have I segmented my friends into groups? If you are diligent at keeping lists and tending to details when making your posts, this might not be an issue at all. Facebook allows you to put your friends into different lists and then decide on a post-by-post basis which lists see which content. If you are good at keeping you lists and think you would be 100-percent diligent in making sure the right list is picked for each post, then you might consider accepting the request but putting co-workers in a list that will see your sanitized posts, and not including them on the posts that might run a little more on the personal side.

In tomorrow’s edition of Promotional Consultant Today, we will continue our series by looking at proper etiquette for social media networking with co-workers.

Source: Mark Bajus is the director of Inbound Marketing at Trapit Inc., a platform for employee advocacy and social selling.