And Suddenly, I’m A Microsoft MVP Again

I’ve been fully enjoying my vacation for the past few days, but I just happened to be passing by my work email today when I saw:

Congratulations, 2017 Microsoft MVP!

“We are once again pleased to present you with the 2017 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award! As you know, this award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who share their remarkable passion, real-world knowledge, and technical expertise with others through demonstration of exemplary commitment. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in the Office Servers and Services technical communities during the past year.”

I’ve been renewed. And I am so grateful and happy for it.


What with my dad having a rather terrible fall in late October, which suddenly put a lot of things in perspective and narrowed my focus quite a bit, to a few other unexpected setbacks, being at work actually felt like a welcome escape at times!

It’s good to know that any efforts I was able to expend outside of myself made a difference in my communities as well.

And, with everything settling down and sorting out, I don’t only feel renewed simply through having this title for a second year. I feel renewed with purpose and dedication, ready to keep giving and keep learning.

What’s renewed you?

Ignite, Ignite, Ignite! What to Expect

“The question on users’ minds is what to expect from the show and from Office 365 services in general.”

If this is the question on your mind, click here for a quick podcast on the inside scoop of what to expect when you arrive in Atlanta. Part of the time, anyway.


This you would probably not expect.


The New Office 365 Network, Explained

It’s a new, public space, and most of us coming over from Yammer are still feeling our way.


An actual live screenshot!

Yammer isn’t gone, about to be gone, or destined for a terrible end*. The product remains a living, breathing, and utterly viable professional learning and development space for your coworkers, clients, and customers. I’m having a blast with the Yammer networks I run, with more people joining every day from all over the world.


Yep, that’s Yammy in space.

So what does the new Office 365 Network intend?

Visibility for all Microsoft products. Consolidating discussions on these products. Thought leadership.

And making “the wealth of valuable information in the Office 365 Network available to anyone who is looking for it.” (Quoted from Anna Chu on the aforementioned, soon-to-be-deleted Yammer Office 365 Network.)

Searchable stuff is good! What I’m not sure about is if this new space on Lithium will also include finding the help you need the way we’ve been used to on the Yammer Office 365 Network (boasting 88,600 members from around the world at the time that I write this).

For Mike Holste has stated clearly on the guidelines that this new network is not for support questions.

I’m wondering how that will work out. A lot of the questions we fielded over in the Yammer network, in a dedicated group named Yammer Bugs, were of the “Should I be worried?” nature, such as: “IS this a bug/glitch/system down thing? Or just me?” whereupon we’d help guide people toward whether they should indeed open a ticket or not.

And then others searching for the same thing would also see the results without having to bounce to yet another site. That was extremely helpful.

But while that was just one of many, many groups that spanned all sorts of topics, not just challenges-to-successes, that level of peer support might never have been the intention for that network in the first place.

This new playground may be more what Microsoft wants to see around its products.


I mostly just wanted to use the O RLY? owl

There will also need to be more thinking before posting. I know this is a best practice regardless. Yet with this network publicly accessible, Yammerites used to sharing a few more details for context around their questions and concerns will need to take extra care not to post confidential information.

As far as the decision to reserve Microsoft’s own use of Yammer down to one invitation-only network, well, these are early days yet for that too.

The bottom line: You have to use it to know how it’ll pan out. For me, it’s an extra step that’s not yet intuitive, because I am that much immersed in Yammer–four networks & counting!–but just as going to Yammer used to be an extra step, this too will become fluid.

More importantly, what will this do to the sense of community we shared within Yammer? Well, I’m not sure about that yet either. As with any new space, there’s a proving ground, and awkwardness, and establishing your personal identity. Some people will jump right in and learn as they go, others will hang back and lurk until they’re comfortable sharing (if ever).

But the friends I’ve made along the way in Yammer, I’m going to keep, one way or another!



*As far as I know. I’m not Microsoft. And social-anything isn’t immutable.