Yammer Review

Alternatives to Yammer exist, but it can be very useful within an organization to help with communication

I’ve been to a few companies recently that have been using Yammer as a business tool. If you’ve got offices that are spread out, or if your workforce aren’t usually in the office, then it provides an easy way for people to be able to share things – like comments, documents, or images. And you can form groups so discussions, that are only relevant to a small group of people, stay within that small group or team.

Yammer started life in 2008 and was bought by Microsoft in 2012. It’s described as an enterprise social network. That means it’s not a public social network like Facebook, it’s for internal communication between members of an organization or group.

It’s free, it’s very easy to use (if you’ve ever used Facebook), and it provides a private and secure place for discussion. The simplest way to use Yammer is from your browser (Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc), and you can download the app for your smartphone or tablet.

It’s easy to set up and use, but I thought I’d put together some instructions for new users, so they know how to get on and start using it.

To sign up, go to www.yammer.com. You’ll see a large box in the middle of the page:

Type in your company e-mail address – you can’t use your personal e-mail address because it won’t work.

Complete your Yammer profile and add a photo. New people in your organization may not be familiar with who you are and your particular skill set.

You can join groups and follow topics that are relevant to you. If Yammer gets very busy with people posting, you won’t want to be informed every time there’s a new post. So, click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. In the drop-down menu, select ‘Edit Profile’. Then select ‘Notifications’ from the list on the left, and then choose how often you want to receive notifications. ‘Save’ your choice. There’s a ‘Back Home’ box top-left to get back.

You can also follow other people – that way you get to see what they’re posting.

When you come to use Yammer on subsequent occasions, you simply click on ‘Log In’ on the right of the top menu bar.

Now you can start to use Yammer.

You can post messages – these can be comments, questions, updates. You can post links to articles or blogs elsewhere on the Web.

You can follow people, which means that you want to view messages from them in ‘My Feed’. It’s not like a friend request. They don’t have to agree. They don’t have to follow you back.

You can read what other people are posting and get a feel of what’s going on across the organization.

You can ‘Like’ other people’s posts.

You can find out more about people in your organization by reading their profile.

You could start your own group or join existing groups.

You can upload pictures. You can organize events/meetings. You can survey what people think about things

You can use topics so that all the posts are around a specific topic. To add a topic to a post, click ‘add topic’ while writing the message or you can use a hashtag. You can also add topics to a published message by clicking ‘more’. Hashtags (#) are used to identify what posts are about and to make finding information easier.

You can search for information in the search box near the top of the page. This will find whether anyone else has posted about a particular topic.

And you can send a direct message in three ways. Use the @ sign followed by the user’s names. As you start to type the name, a drop-down menu will give you suggestions. You can send a private message:

  • Click ‘Inbox’ in the left column.
  • Click ‘Create Message’ on the right sidebar.
  • Select ‘Send Private Message’.
  • In the ‘Add Participants’ field, start to type the person’s user name. A drop-down list of matching user names appears.
  • Select the name of the name of the person you want to send the message to.
  • Write your message, and then ‘Send’.

And you can send a message through ‘Online Now’:

  • Click ‘Online Now’ in the bottom-right corner.
  • Start writing the person’s name. A drop-down list of matching user names appears.
  • Use the up and down arrows, and ‘Enter’ to select a name. A message box opens.
  • Write your message, and then ‘Send’.

Recipients are notified that they have a message.

Unbelievably, Yammer refers to all communications inside Yammer as “Yams”. Yams are sorted into various feeds. A feed, if you’re new to social media, is a way of keeping you up-to-date with content that other people are posting.

I think many organizations would benefit from an internal social media tool. There are alternatives to Yammer available, but I think it can be very useful within an organization to help with communication. And it can be fun!

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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