I have a coworker that is stalking me on social media. I was hesitant to accept his friend request on Facebook because I normally like to keep my work, and personal lives separate, but I didn’t want him to feel bad if I didn’t accept. Especially since I am friends with a couple of other people in the office who I hang out with sometimes outside of work. Now, he comments on every post, picture, and status on my page and talks about the content in the office. He even tags me in all sorts of videos and photos that he posts on his page. I want to unfriend him, but don’t want to cause any problems in the office. I even considered shutting down my page or starting a new one but don’t feel I should have to do that because of one person. What should I do?
Dear C. Johnson:
Stalking is a very strong word, and I am not sure how uncomfortable or serious this situation is and if you feel like you are in danger. If that is the case, you may consider talking to or alerting your HR department, supervisor or authorities if necessary. But it sounds like you are more annoyed than creeped out by your coworker who is trying too hard to connect with you.
I advise you to do one of two things. One, set some boundaries for your coworker and let him know how you like to interact on Facebook. Let him know that you would rather not discuss your private life and the contents of your Facebook page in the office. You can also ask him to stop tagging you in his content. Also, take advantage of Facebook’s privacy settings. Limit your interaction with your coworker and prevent him from seeing all of your content. Two, you can delete him as a friend on Facebook and explain to him that you would rather interact with him in a professional setting at work rather than on social media.
When dealing with social media, you also have to be care with the assumption that there is an “at-work” you and a “private-at-home” you. Unfortunately, you are you everywhere you are, including on social media. There are no longer lines of demarcation. While I believe that you have the right to choose who you’re connected to on social media, the reality is that social media platforms are in the public domain. This means that even with the best private settings, there are ways that people who are not connected to you directly (including your employer, school officials, and anyone else) can still see portions of your content, particularly, if they are connected to someone else you are connected to. So it is up to you how you want to handle it but make sure you are honest and clear about your boundaries and expectations.
So it is up to you how you want to handle it but make sure you are honest and clear about your boundaries and expectations. And pay attention to the actions and attitudes of your coworker just in case annoyed turns into creepy behavior and actions.