Why Yammer Is NOT Facebook (And Why That’s Good)

A great series of posts are really detailing what Yammer is, and what it isn’t—including what it isn’t supposed to be in the first place!

At work, we emphatically stress that Yammer is NOT Facebook, both internally with coworkers and externally with our customers.

We also don’t call it social media. “Social networking” is dicey enough! I blame the “social” part and the stigma attached to that multifaceted word, but I’ll get to the “networking” part in a bit.

Instead, we term Yammer a “professional learning network.”

Why? Because learning—about ideas, processes, goals, and projects—is what really happens once your company or your customers start using Yammer.

And in the process, you learn more about what makes your company succeed.

Here’s how:

From the softer side of a Photography group to a robust project group that will impact both your corporate goals and your customers’ continuing satisfaction, what you’re seeing is collaboration. You’re seeing input. You’re seeing people sharing their ideas where they wouldn’t have over email or in person, often simply because they weren’t asked.

We’re all used to emailing or calling meetings with our core groups. We all have that circle we think of first. When’s the last time you thought of asking an Accounting person to come to a Marketing design brainstorm for a Facebook meme?

And yet. Post that design brainstorm project on Yammer and watch the insight pour in from all over the company. Maybe next time you hold that offline meeting, you’ll ask a few more people than just your go-to circle.

And sure, networking happens. Chatter happens. You get more than one person in a room with a common cause, you’re going to get people talking about off-topic things. But on Yammer, it happens naturally and seamlessly, and not at the expense of the work you need to do.

One thing you do need:

A strong community manager or community management team to help guide and shape your approach. Yammer is made up of groups. Corral any topic you want in a group, and you’ll keep the perceived “noise” level manageable.

Follow Microsoft Tech Community contributor Jacob Skaue for more, including how to get Yammer rolling in your company. Follow me, too!


An exemplary pic found on Pinterest

Whisper.sh the next big social networking site–for real?

I’ve really only looked at Whisper.sh in terms of “Can I use this for work?” and as I can’t, I quickly disregarded it. But now that it’s in the news (again) as the next big thing, allegedly giving Facebook a big sharp pang, I looked again.

At first glance, the site seems full of creatively spelled thoughts typed on mostly-appropriate pictures, with more than the occasional phrase that isn’t as pithy as it pretends:


The kicker is that it’s all anonymous. This is nothing new in social media; it’s been happening on Livejournal for years, and Twitter is full of accounts with fake names that also post deep thoughts (same with Tumblr).

What I’m wondering about is calling this a social networking site. If the point is to stay anonymous, is that really social networking? How strong is the connection you feel with persons who will always stay hidden?

Admittedly, that may be more the fault of the news article. In a blog post, the creators of Whisper call it just a “next iteration of the social web,” which could mean anything.

In that same post, they say: “While we knew what we created would always be a unique place to express yourself authentically, Whisper quickly exploded to become much more than that. It is now a fast-growing, constantly evolving community of millions of people bound by sharing stories, expressing unvarnished moments, revealing honest emotions and connecting with the world around them.”

My question: How authentic are you if you stay anonymous?

I get that people can find ways to connect as real people beyond Whisper’s site. I also understand that sometimes we’re too scared to speak out what we really want and need to say, so providing a platform like this for people who will never touch Livejournal or don’t trust Tumblr makes good business sense. Being empathized with is a coveted thing.

I just wonder if staying anonymous will hurt more than it helps in the end. Does it change the message’s credibility if you don’t know who says it? Is getting the message out there the most important part?

And do we really feel better if we get 200 hearts from people we don’t know versus five hearts from people we do?

Let me know what you think.

Do People Take Your Social Media Job Seriously?

social media delight

Here’s a gem from Ragan’s Health Care Communication News: “5 reasons people don’t think social media is a real job. “​

I think I may have been the recipient of some of this reasoning (from others, of course; never you). I do know that my job wouldn’t be as awesome, or as possible, without the rest of my team and the roles they have.

Pulling out one reason:

#3: People confuse social networking and social media. “Confusing social networking and social media marketing is like confusing someone who clicks the TV remote with someone who makes TV ads.”

Yes. There’s a science behind the calculated madness, mixed with a shot of alchemy, a dose of manipulation, and a vestige of shut-eyes-grit-teeth-and-hope-this-works. We’re not just sitting around tweeting for our health. Well, maybe paycheck health.

But I shouldn’t minimize the process. Read the article!