News yesterday that Facebook has signed a deal to put its platform on RIM’s BlackBerries should cause at least a twitch of concern for anyone managing a staff that uses the devices.

The Internet and personal e-mail already pose large enough distractions for workers. Their productivity promises to take another hit with the inclusion of a social networking platform that might very well be the only thing more addictive than the “CrackBerry” itself.

And it’s not as if only teens are the ones glued to Facebook; the firm’s co-founder and vice-president of engineering, Dustin Moskovitz, said that members over 35 are the fastest growing segment of adopters. That means working people — professionals with BlackBerries in their briefcases and purses.

Once again, managers, in conjunction with IT departments, will have to ensure an appropriate usage policy is in place to deal with the latest potential productivity drain. It’s the only way to effectively achieve what they want to in deploying the devices in the first place.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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