I’m going to state right up front that I am an old fart … I don’t “get” Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of the always on, always plugged in social networks. I really don’t understand the need to be constantly informed. Of course my younger colleagues just look at me totally askance when I say things like this and then quickly turn back to their phones for the latest updates on their social feeds …
But I do have to say that I’m slowly starting to “get it” when it comes to Yammer.
We (itgroove) have been getting our heads wrapped around Yammer for the last few weeks, with the charge being lead by Sean, our El Supremo. Today we had a big lunch meeting to delve more deeply into Yammer and the light bulbs (or should I say, LED’s) started to illuminate as we discussed and poked and prodded. I would not say that I totally understand what Yammer is (that would mean that I grok it and that just ain’t so) but I am beginning to see the possibilities Yammer can give to organizations willing to give it a whirl.
Yammer appears to be many things and I have heard it described as “Facebook for Business”. I don’t know if that is a fair description but it certainly is a platform that organizations can use to capture and maintain information that flows between members of the organization without applying too many constraints in the process. It can certainly be a great replacement for a lot of email discussions because, as we all know, email is a rotten way to communicate with a group of people; it is asyncronous, disjointed and too much data can get lost along the way. Yammer conversations (or discussions or posts, pick your terminology) arrange the information flow chronologically with timestamps, allow for files to be attached, and information can’t be lost. Yammer posts can incorporate files and links and video and … well, you name it.
I like the idea that a conversation that might have been contained in email pre-Yammer can now be captured with only one copy (the Truth) being held in Yammer in the chronological order in which it was generated. And, yes, I know that a Yammer conversation can still be construed as asyncronous because you are not actually talking in “real time” (that is what Lync or a phone or even, horrors, face-to-face in-person conversations are for) but it feels more fluid than email. And. like SharePoint, there is just one copy of the truth which beats the pants off the confusing array of “truths” that can exist in a fragmented group email conversation!
I guess the real “problem” with Yammer is trying to figure out what it is and where you would use it in place of other tools that you already have in your quiver (like the aforementioned Lync). I certainly shied away from Yammer for the first little while. (OK, that isn’t exactly true … I HATED it when I first looked at it.) You do have to kick the tires and be willing to give it a chance. I’m doing my best to do so and will blog again down the road to describe our internal experience with it.