Q: I’m trying to keep my Facebook account personal, but I just got a request from my boss to be friends. I like being able to be myself on Facebook, and I don’t want to worry about whether she’ll agree with my political statements or asides to actual friends. Can I ignore her request or am I obligated in some way to friend her?
A: This is a great question–and everybody is asking it these days. Your Facebook account is yours to do with as you like, so if you don’t want to friend your boss, you don’t have to. You have no professional obligation to do so. Your question does bring up a bigger point, however, and concerns what you “put out there” on the Internet. Remember that though your boss may not have access to what you say on Facebook, you may have a friend in common–via Facebook or offline. What you say and how you represent yourself on the Web sticks around, and you may want to think about whether you’re ready to talk with your boss or a client about your rants regarding tax-day tea parties or your status update about a day-long hangover last weekend.