You met a new guy and you are very excited. The office is not the place to share your joy. If you don’t invite everyone into your life, you won’t have to kick them out when the party is over. You are not a reality star. You do not get paid for revealing your personal life and the drama that ensues. Seriously! If people in the office are bored, let them search the internet for kittens on treadmills. If they come to you asking about your date, the weekend in Las Vegas or wretched waiter incident, consider you have shared too much and you need to implement your personal firewall ASAP.

A lot of time is spent on the job, friendships will occur. Make the distinction between friendly coworkers and your friends. Use a litmus test. Your friends are those you allow to borrow your car. Your friends have a key to your house. Your friends know your dress size. Is the same true of your coworkers?

Do not share personal information. 

You may work together eight hours a day or more, but, they are not family. They are your work family but it still doesn’t mean you need to tell the details of your life. Sure, you’ll want a few things to share. Think about what those things are, if you are a sports enthusiast, car fanatic, etc. Think of what can be a source of regular conversation and yet not give away too much. For example, letting co workers know you work out is fine (strength training with body weight as resistance) and leave it at that. Leave out the fact that your work out is actually vertical pole fitness (Known in some circles as pole dancing; a perfectly legitimate work out but that one needs a lot of explaining.) Are you getting an idea of the gossip that could ensue?

People are very connected; do not discuss others. 

Great, you are not discussing your personal life, but you sprinkle your conversations with lively anecdotes about your friends, family and neighbors? Guidance, if you would not tell the anecdote with that person in the room standing beside you, it is not appropriate to share with your coworkers. The guy in your crew who is always doing stupid things could turn out to be the nephew of your coworker. The ex-boyfriend your roommate is stalking could be the son of your manager. It happens and continues to happen. Don’t let it happen to you. Worse still is when someone repeats to you an anecdote, they heard about a picky dinner guest who refused to eat an apples because it wasn’t organic, didn’t have the asparagus because it was sautéed in oil but, dove into the bundt cakes filled with sugar preservatives and whatever chemicals it takes to make bright green and neon orange frosting. Funny story, people are laughing, but they don’t realize the anecdote is about you. What makes this story is ok, is it was funny. The downside is often these shared anecdotes are hurtful and things that would never be repeated in the presence of the subject. You want to be able to engage in conversation, pick a few things, books, movies, sports, reality TV, and not real people.

Develop a Social Media Strategy.

Look, you had a strategy around you education, your fashion style, how you live, social media is not an out of the realm of consideration. For starters, there is Facebook. Do not “friend” your coworkers. Do not accept the invite; it is an invitation. Typically, people won’t’ even ask. If they do, let them know your Facebook policy about coworkers. Direct them to linked in. Or, keep your account generic. No bikini posts from Miami. You are strategic about your posts and this takes work. Your posts become part of your “brand.” Yes, Facebook has various settings for privacy around who can see what. You can classify friends and who can see what. With the amount of Facebook traffic, it’ a lot easier to just stay generic or keep separate accounts. Be accountable and use basic netiquette. No tagging and posting updates of people without their permission.

It’s a rather parochial view; because once things are out there, you can’t take it back. There is not an editing application that can clean stuff up. Keep your private life private. Disclose information about yourself with discretion. Use caution with anecdotes about others. Is it your story to tell? Who is listening? Who will repeat the story? You do not want to inadvertently damage the reputation of others. You need a social media strategy. Do you need separate Facebook accounts? How do other sites like Instagram and Linked in factor in? This is why they call it work. Work it. Your friends know your dress size; friendly coworkers; probably not. The information about you is your brand. With that, I will admit I am the picky dinner guest and while it was funny, it was a shock to hear my story repeated by someone I didn’t know and who was not in attendance. However, as a part of brand, I am a blogger after all; I share so others can skip some rookie mistakes.