We’ve just started using Yammer at work. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s very similar to Twitter. Users write a question or a short update on what they’re doing that can be read by everyone who ‘follows’ them. Everyone who reads the update can write their own response and gradually a community conversation starts. A bit like in the picture above.
Unlike Twitter however, Yammer is only for internal communications within one company – you must have a Carphone Warehouse email address to sign up for our group. In theory this eliminates the background noise and constant interruptions from Stephen Fry that can make using Twitter a bit like wading through a pile of someone else’s mail.
And so far I’m very impressed. Carphone is a big company based in several sites across the country. Obviously, this can make communication difficult – no one who works on our Preston site is going to ‘pop down for a quick chat’ with me in London. But on Yammer such geographical trifles aren’t a problem.
The other day I needed some feedback on a web page I’m writing about BlackBerry App World. I wanted to know if customers were having problems using it and what sort of questions they were calling our contact centre to ask. Previously getting this sort of feedback would have been a nightmare – I’d have had to track down the right person and then exchange a series of emails or phone calls with someone hundreds of miles away.
Instead of all that, Yammer let me type out a short question and chuck it out to everyone who was logged on. Within half an hour three or four people (several of whom I didn’t know before) had come back to me with suggestions about what I needed to consider.
It wasn’t just the speed that impressed me. The inclusive nature of Yammer means that everyone who could help with my problem did – even if I didn’t know who they were. That’s some pretty efficient social networking – if only someone could find a similar use for Facebook.