I have just been introduced to another social networking tool called Yammer. It is a cross between Twitter And Facebook. What makes it interesting is it is set up to be used as a private space for companies and institutions as opposed to Twitter and Facebook which is open to the whole world. It is currently being introduced to Otago Polytechnic, where I work as an educational facilitator. But I am left with mixed feelings about it.
On the one hand, I like the idea of a social media tool that brings people together within a company or institution. Despite the fact OP is a small educational institution and is pretty much based on one campus, I have heard staff say often that they do not know what everyone else is doing. And there is not enough sharing of ideas and resources within the organization. I think Yammer provides a way of bridging that gap and has the potential of bringing people together in virtual communities of practice. I can see this being even more beneficial to organizations like my other boss, Griffith University, which is a huge university with many departments and campuses spread out all over Queensland.
The other advantage is that it is a "safe" and "gentle" introduction to social media and social networking. People get very nervous about putting themselves "out there" so it is not so much of a risk if your audience is just within your organization. So it is a relatively safe place to play and get your head around social networking.
What I do not like about it is that it is a closed garden. By that I mean it does not encourage the spreading of ideas beyond the organization - it does not encourage networking with the wider world, which is the great strength of social networking.
I am an established user of Facebook and Twitter and am finding Yammer yet another tool to engage with, so I'm not too fussed about having my "work load" increased. I have seen internal virtual communities come and go, and I am not convinced that this will be any different. There will be a small core of people doing all the talking....a bigger number of people who lurk....and the rest will say they haven't got time to read all the posts and discussions. For me, the verdict is out on how effective Yammer will be.
Do you use Yammer in your organization? How effective has it been for internal communication and collaboration? What are your thoughts about it?
Image: '082/365: Yammering'