Work-based Social Networks

SilosAre private social networks, such as Yammer, the future for internal communication?

One of the problems of working in a university (and this is my fourth!) are the silos.  Internal communication is generally poor; it can be very frustrating sometimes.  I’m not sure the private sector is much different, but it’s been a while since I worked there.

I’ve just tracked down a quote that I used to mention in my twitter workshops:

Those who criticise use of Twitter at work haven’t seen the tectonic plates moving. Social networks such as these are the way businesses will be run in the future. The trouble is that most firms, probably the ones that objected to email in its early stages, don’t get this at all.

Victor Keegan Is Twitter the perfect way to network? The Guardian, January 2009

I’m not sure about tectonic plates but thinking about my own use of Twitter, it really has really changed how I communicate and who I’m communicating with.  The growth of my network and the relationships that I have developed over the past two years continue to surprise me.  Despite working in an extremely friendly, open-plan environment I often ask twitter before I ask colleagues!

This week I’ve started looking at Yammer which sells itself as The Enterprise Social Network. Essentially it’s Twitter with a wall around it.  To access the LSE yammer you must have an email address (takes me back to early Facebook days). Now for some this may go against the grain of a social network but I think it has potential.  Of course social networks need a network to be a success and LSE Yammer doesn’t have one yet, but I’m about to start working on that.

Things I like so far

  • Clean easy-to-use interface
  • Higher No character limit (400 rather than 140)
  • Ability to attach things – including files, polls, events
  • Ability to create and post to subgroups plus  ‘communities’ which are subgroups that non-LSE users can be invited to without giving them access to the whole LSE network.
  • Twitter integration: Twitter > Yammer by including #yam
  • Daily email digest

On the downside the iPhone App is rubbish, it crashes on launch but the mobile web version seems fine (as is Desktop one).

I’d really like to get some colleagues involved and see how it might work.  I’ll post an update on how it goes at some point.  For now, here are some posts from other yammer users (sourced from yammer website):


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