Thursday, August 2, 2012

Should Principals Have Facebook Friends at Work; The Results


A few weeks ago I posted the question, "Should principals have Facebook friends at work?" and asked readers to responded via School HR's first interactive poll.  Today, in a totally non-scientific, non-cite-able manner the results are announced.

The Results

Respondents were about evenly split on the question between "No" (44.07%) and "Maybe" (42.37%) (way to take a stand there people!).  Interestingly, only 10.17% of respondents said "Yes, friend everyone."  Here's a nice pie chart of the results.

There were two comments left under "other" 

      "No, it reeks of favoritism."
      " Yes. Set security/privacy settings are important, and be professional."

Other comments received included one from a principal who didn't want to know what his teacher were doing on Facebook because then he'd have to deal with their inappropriateness come the next work day.  And another from a respondent who likened "friending" to the practice of hiring relatives.  Where I come from we call that "institutional incest." 


It looks like the jury is still out on this one - though it looks like we're leaning toward "No" when it comes to friending people at work.

IMHO it is NOT a good idea for principals to friend subordinates at work.  Quite frankly, I don't want to see Mrs. Jones in her bathing suit two fisting tequila in Cabo inappropriate personal pictures posted by staff.  There needs to be some professional separation.

I am a BIG fan of using social media to connect with teachers, students, and parents.  On Facebook I suggest using a page rather than a profile to communicate professionally.  Though attached to your profile for logging on, a page is separate and distinct from your profile.  Pages allow for easy, frequent updating, pictures, events, and the like.  Rather than friend the page owner, people subscribe to the page by pressing the like button.  Both parties get the benefit of communication with out being able to view the other's  profile. If you'd like to see a page this link will take you to mine (feel free to press like while you're there).

Your thoughts

The use of Social Media in educational settings is evolving and I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment below and be part of the conversation.

Photo credit (CC) West McGowan


  1. When educators friend some and not others on FaceBook, it can be problematic and lead to conjecture about favoritism and selective communication. I try to keep a mostly separate forum for colleagues, students and parents, yet I know overlap can occur so I think of Facebook as my "public face" just like my presence at a school meeting, work in the classroom or other meetings. Thanks for posing this important discussion.

  2. I recently changed my position on this and I like having FB friends from work. I learn so much more about them as individuals and vice-versa. I"m not one to share much personal information with colleagues but FB gives them more insight into my life. I believe that it has improved my relationship with these teachers. I haven't looked to friend all of our teachers and I think that one or two did not respond to my friend request. It did not bother me at all that they did not respond. I'm a principal of an international school so our culture may be a bit more open than other places. I may regret this later, but for now I see my Facebook relations as a good thing.



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