Before I get into my blog, I thought I would point out that although this particular example is about tagging staff in a post on Facebook, there are a whole raft of social media platforms that this would apply to.

As I am not an avid user of Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest or many other platforms, I thought I would focus on the one that has 2.38 billion monthly active users (as of March 2019) and that I do frequently use, Facebook.

I was sitting on my lounge at home a few weeks back scrolling through Facebook whilst my wife watched TV. She was probably watching the Bachelor or the Bachelorette where some love crazed girl was upset at a loved crazed guy about a different loved crazed person who did….. I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention!

Whilst scrolling through Facebook I came across a meme that made me think of one of my staff members. For any readers not up with the lingo, a meme is: an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.

I went to tag that staff member in the meme because I thought that she would find it funny, but I stopped myself. A number of thoughts went through my head:

  • “It’s 8pm on a Tuesday night, does my staff member want to be bothered by me?”
  • “Will she find it funny?”
  • “Will it be offensive somehow?”
  • “Does my boss disagree with me tagging her in things on Facebook?”
  • “Would any other members of my team think that I favoured her because I didn’t tag them?”
  • “Am I being too friendly with my staff member? Or am I simply engaging with them in a way that is comfortable?”

Finally, I realised that I was overthinking the situation, it was a funny meme and I tagged her in it. She replied on Facebook laughing at it and we had a joke about it the next day in the office.


But does this open up another can of worms when it comes to drawing the line between work and home life? I found myself overthinking the situation mostly because I was unsure on what the protocol was and hadn’t heard of policies or social norms that I could follow.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are just over 25 million people residing in Australia and of that 25 million, approximately 60% of those people have an active Facebook account – 15 million people in total.

If we break that down further and just look at the 18 – 55-year-old demographics there are approximately 13.7 million Australian residents actively using Facebook. It is estimated that on average, 1 in 2 Australian Facebook users will log in daily! That’s a lot of people spending a lot of time in one “area”.

You can probably start to see, just by looking at these numbers that there are already going to be multiple occasions where managers and staff cross paths on social media. But is it a bad thing if this happens?

My opinion continues to be dragged back to something that our Managing Director at Optimum is very good at and that’s relating to people on a topic or level that is comfortable for that individual. If they have an interest in sport, engage with them over this. If they are morning people, get in early and talk with them then. So, if your staff or colleagues are active social media users, why not engage with them on a medium that they are comfortable with?

True employee engagement comes with a level of trust between co-workers. If you understand what is important to them and genuinely value them as individuals you will build a level of trust and you will get the best out of them. If that means the occasional social media tag to build a new level of rapport with someone, where’s the harm in that?

Isaac Dufficy

Executive Consultant, Group Solutions

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