Yammer Time

Okay, so I just read a blog post from Valley PR and I thought it was interesting for two reasons: the importance of blogging and a fairly new social media tool.

First off, Valley PR Blog is a site run by a few PR professionals in the Valley and brands itself as “A [dry] heated group blog from Phoenix, Arizona on the Four Corners of Public Relations, marketing, social media and current event.” They blog on various topics and apparently has a good presence in the Valley.

This particular blog post, To Yam or not to Yam, is about a social media tool called Yammer that is only accessible with a company email address and focuses on internal communications.

Yammer, comparable to Twitter, is a private, microblogging, site available only within companies or corporations that can choose between either a free or paid account. It allows employees to communicate or voice opinions in a more relaxed, less formal instant environment.Other features include creating communities to share with clients, file upload and sharing, private chats with one or more co-workers and even a mobile app on iPhone. With the free version of Yammer, the user owns the data, so they are responsible for managing content. While the paid version owns the data, the network administrator gets tools to help with any issues that might arise.

Earlier I mentioned that this blog was interesting because of the introduction of a new networking tool for businesses and also because it proved to me how necessary it is for PR professionals to blog. The reason is that the initial To Yam or not to Yam post listed some pros and cons about Yammer stating some inaccurate information. The Oct.1, 2010 blog post was responded to by Yammer’s director of communications at 12:01 p.m. on the same day, according to the time and date stamp on the site. The director of communications identified herself, and clarified the information on the post in a professional and timely manner — very good potential crisis control for the product. The author of the blog, however, has yet to comment on the response, which does not look too good for him — 10 days later.

[Back to the Yammer of the matter] What do you think about Yammer? How do you think this service would help in the PR field? Would you suggest such a tool to potential clients?

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17 Responses to Yammer Time

  1. kdaoust says:

    I don’t know … I feel as though this new Yammer social media tool for companies isn’t a great idea. Personally, I feel like it will be the perfect excuse for management to find ways to fire people — for minor inappropriate updates or for accidentally sharing information about a project that isn’t supposed to be announced yet. It’s just another way for the line between work and personal life to be blurred and nothing good ever came of that!

    However, I do like the file share/upload aspect as well as developing an online community with your clients. But there are better applications and programs to handle these things, like fttp (I think that’s what it’s called) or file upload, or a company/client blog or discussion/question-answer aspect online.

    • mwilson9 says:

      I see what you are trying to say and you make a very good point. However, like everything else, it is up to the company to set rules and guidelines and for employees to obey.

      Companies could even hire someone to monitor their site(something most do with email and other internet usage anyway). That way each post and comment gets “screened” (for lack of a better word) and any issues can be addressed before a problem arises.

  2. mbgiles says:

    I think Yammer is a good idea for companies to have a “one-stop shop” site to share content. It has the potential to connect the corporation niche audience together in a more specified Internet environment. However, is it really necessary? All of these things are already available through sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Gchat, FTP file sharing … and more. In my opinion, Yammer sounds like just another social media tool that is a variation of something already developed. However, companies might jump on the Yammer bandwagon to provide their employees with a more exclusive micro-blogging site and to impress customers by keeping up with the “latest” thing.

    • mwilson9 says:

      I think that is one of the good things about Yammer, its exclusivity. Not many people are comfortable with being in the completely open world of the web, but with Yammer you know that everyone in your online community belongs to your work community. That is something that could allow skeptical but curious users to take part in the online communication and networking tool.

  3. jlmart20 says:

    It’s great to see innovation in social media. It is the way of the future. But I agree with the last comment. As real-time information is pertinent, it can also be a liability or detrimental to those untrained in online communication and ethical practices.

    I don’t think that Yammer can be ruled out completely. But it is important to accompany new communication tools with new communication guidelines and ethics.

    • mwilson9 says:

      My thoughts exactly, each Yammer account holder would need to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the company. That is one of the features of the paid account, it give the company some control over what is posted.

  4. lrstarr says:

    I agree. This again provides another platform for scrutinizing employees’ behavior; another way to watch and be watched. However, our social media sites lack exclusivity; something Yammer undoubtedly provides. If used correctly, this could be a great tool to strengthen a company by allowing constant communication. Often, there is a disconnect between top- and entry-level employees; especially in larger companies. This provides an opportunity to bridge the gap. I say the more frequent the intra-company communication, the better.

  5. shuscher says:

    I agree with Kaetlynn’s comment. Yes, I think that it’s a great way to communicate with clients. On the other hand, I can definitely see it being abused. I think if a company were to utilize Yammer, there would have to be guidelines for its usage so that it doesn’t end up causing more problems than it solves.

    However, I do like the overall idea of Yammer. It’s Twitter designed for businesses, allowing them to work as an online community with each other and with clients. Essentially, it has a major advantage that Twitter does not: exclusivity. It takes away the Twitter crowding and puts the focus on the company.

    Unfortunately, to utilize Yammer to the best of its abilities, companies need a paid account — $3 to $5 per month for every person in the company. This can add up, and it’s enough to make me reevaluate if this is really a necessary tool.

    • mwilson9 says:

      You are right about the paid accounts getting costly. And Yammer agrees, that’s why they have deals and discounts available for larger companies that would alleviate some of the costs associated with it.

      I argue that this may very well be a necessary tool because many times a crisis can develop from within a company or cooperation. This tool can serve as a outlet to employees and can bring to the surface, potentially dangerous issues that can be nipped in the bud.

      • mwilson9 says:

        Oh, and by nipped in the bud I mean addressed before it turns into something that jeopardizes the brand 🙂

  6. srmccab1 says:

    While Yammer is an exciting new tool, think the most interesting part of your post was the fact that the director of communications for Yammer was so quick to respond to any inaccurate or misleading information about their product. After your blog post, I was immediately intrigued to see how the communications professional handled it. And I must say, I believe it was perfectly handled. While still correcting the misinformation she was polite and included a way for anyone to contact her with any questions. I think this is a perfect illustration of what all communications professionals should be doing when resolving a problem. She was obviously on top of what was being said about their product and was quick to diffuse any misinformation.

  7. shotchk1 says:

    This is an interesting concept. It really brings a new dynamic to internal communications. I think it has potential to be useful primarily for the authoritative positions. It provides an open forum for employees to discuss work matters, but my concern would be that the blog could create rifts. I think Yammer will challenge employees to be adults in their discussions and not become snarky and defensive.

    I would suggest this in a large corporation, but not necessarily for small organizations. Large corporations will lend more anonymity.

    • mwilson9 says:

      I think challenging employees to be adults is a good thing, don’t you? It will definitely serve as a great platform to start off with.

  8. jhickam says:

    I actually commented on this post at Valley PR Blog when I saw it. I agree that it is a really interesting idea. The reason I see it working and being successful is because Twitter has developed a major flaw recently. It seems that on Twitter, everyone is beginning to follow everyone. It is hard to create a tribe when you have a “if you follow me, I’ll follow you” mentality in order to increase your followers. This only leads to unorganized, bogged down feeds. Messages, intended for specific audiences, aren’t heard. Twitter needs to find an easier and more organized way for users to search for friends and create online communities. While I don’t think Yammer is a perfect tool yet, it does offer both options to its businesses.

    • mwilson9 says:

      I have began to look at Twitter as more of an entertainment and quick news/information micro-blog. Yammer is more for professionals and will make for great internal communications tool as the previous response mentioned.

      And Yammer, naturally, is not a perfect tool, but it’s a great start and I am excited to see where this will take the future of internal communications and building a stronger bond within each organization.

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