New research to discover the makeup of the average Facebook user’s friends has revealed that we’re more likely to be connected to ex partners, holiday romances and even total strangers than we are to our boss when it comes to personal social networks. Indeed nine out ten Brits hide their social media accounts from colleagues.
The survey of 3,000 social media users revealed that only 0.1 per cent of us are Facebook friends with our boss*. Social media users would in fact rather stay connected to past holiday romances, ex-partners and even people we have never met.
The findings also showed that just 6 per cent of Brits connect with their work colleagues, despite the fact that many of us spend up to 40 hours per week with them..
Brits reveal their reasons for not connecting with colleagues on social media range from not wanting colleagues to see their political views, wanting to be able to engage with explicit or sexual content without colleagues judging them and even hiding the fact they have been looking for new jobs.
Samantha, a PR Executive from London, hosts a subscription YouTube channel under a fake name that she hides from colleagues, where she shares risque videos about her sexual experiences and political views. All of her social media accounts for this are under a different name which helps keep her alter ego hidden from work colleagues.
Nina, Social Media Assistant from London, works as a professional pin-up, burlesque and lingerie model so uses a stage name on social media to hide it from work colleagues as she doesn’t want to mix her artistic life and professional one. She says,
I don’t want any of my colleagues to justify mistakes I could make at work by assuming I’m not 100 per cent committed to my professional life.
Nobody has ever found me at my current job since my stage name is completely different to my real one, but in the past I’ve had colleagues take advantage of it and accused me of being too distracted by my modelling hobby to do my job properly.
When asked to describe who is currently part of their Facebook friends list, UK social media users selected the following:
Family – 39.1 per cent
Friends – 42.8 per cent
People from school – 7.4 per cent
Colleagues – 6.3 per cent
People from university – 2.1 per cent
Total strangers – 1.5 per cent
Ex-girlfriends/boyfriends – 0.3 per cent
Holiday romances – 0.3 per cent
Bosses – 0.1 per cent
While it’s clear that the vast majority of people see Facebook as the way to keep in touch with friends and family, the research also suggests that social media can also help turn strangers into real life friends. More than half of respondents (57per cent) said they would stop to have a conversation with a Facebook friend that they hadn’t ever met in real life if they saw them in the street.
Denise Timmis, Head of Online at Envirofone, said,
Social media is a great way to bring people together. The ease of use of modern phones means that we can keep up with the pictures, comments and messages of the people we care about more easily than ever and we can also build new friendships and connections too, often based around shared interests.
Our research suggests that there is one connection that we’re still reluctant to take onto Facebook though, and that’s with our boss. We’ve all seen stories of people who have got into trouble at work or failed to land a job because of a social media faux pas, and so it’s understandable that many people like to keep their work and personal lives separate. The most important thing is that we’re comfortable with who we have connections with, we feel able to be ourselves online and we enjoy being part of our online community.
*conducted by Envirofone,