Can you train workers instead of Banning Facebook in Office? [Is it Possible?]

Managing an office and workforce is always a challenge especially now a days when Facebook and other social networking sites has raised the chances of sticky new situations in offices.

Imagine that when you walked into office, you encountered with not only your colleagues and co-workers but also your spouse, your college drinking buddies, your Senior Prom date, and, off in a corner, your adolescent son and may be possible your ex-managers, busy in telling your boss that how many hours daily you spend playing GTA.

Even if you are careful in posting work-related news in your facebook status and comments on others’ walls. One buddy writing “Yo, how did the layoffs go down?” on your wall is enough to cause havoc in your office particularly if layoff day hasn’t yet happened.

1 – Too Many Friends
Its been reported that young people are more open to accepting friends request compare to older colleagues who are not keen in revealing their secrets.

Michael Argast, director of Global Sales Engineering at security vendor Sophos Plc said, “Younger people are using Facebook on a quasi-professional basis to build stronger relationships with people. That means they’re sharing a lot of information with a lot of people on a regular basis.”

Imagine you’ve just had an innocent lunch with a former co-worker who works in competitor company and discussed joining her fantasy baseball league. You come back to find a post on your wall that reads, “Great talking to you, and I’ll be sure to let you know if there are any openings.” What kind of rumors will that start among your staff and colleagues?

2 – Information Travel Too Far
The currency of Facebook is the information that friends choose to share with one another — status updates, wall posts, external Web links, photos, videos, survey results, application feeds, and comments on all of the above. The unending flow of data from friends and supposed friends can easily get out of hand.

Say a Facebook user posts a funny picture of a cat. If one of her friends your employee, as it turns out comments “LOL,” there’s no harm done. But what if your employee instead writes, “thanks. i really needed a laugh this morning everyone here is freaking cuz our servers are down.” Suddenly lots of people she may not know, and you certainly don’t, are now aware of your company’s technical difficulties, all in lightning-quick Internet time.

3 – Facebook can blur the line between Boss and Employees
Facebook can be a swamp for boss and employee alike as everything from romantic entanglements and political views to over-sharing about recreational substance use makes its way from the digital world to the physical office.

If your top programmer announces on Facebook that she’s pregnant, but neglects to tell you in real life, is this information you now “know” for planning purposes or not? If a long-time contract programmer shares in his status update that he just got a contract to write a book, are you out of line in asking if he still has time for your projects?

4 – Facebook photos and apps can be very dangerous
Even if you and your employees are careful not to share sensitive information in wall posts and status updates, it’s still easy to inadvertently spill the beans. The Internet is chock-a-block with applications that bring data into Facebook from outside sources again, often without the user’s realization.

As just one example, There’s a way to capture Delicious bookmarks to Facebook so that everything you bookmark gets posted to your feed. If your research team is using Delicious to bookmark source pages and haven’t checked their privacy settings, their work may be getting propagated on Facebook, giving friends and potentially competitors alike a pretty good idea of what your company’s next big idea is going to be.

Many people will argue that instead of banning Facebook in office you should train your staff. My question is can you do that? is it possible?