I noticed a bit of an upsurge in followers on Yammer in the past couple of days. Concurrently, I also noticed that there appears to be a campaign on Facebook at the moment reminding folks of the existence of Yammer. It seems as though the campaign is mining my user profile information to identify a company network to advertise at me.
I’m generally an early adopter, as regular readers of my blog will know. I joined Yammer in the initial landrush… but I’ve barely used it, despite a desktop AIR client and an iPhone app being launched to make access and use of the service a lot easier.
What’s the issue? Well, for me, there are two fundamental problems:
- it’s a service hosted outside of the corporate firewall, and yet encouraging me to write about “what [I’m] working on”. I do realise that some organisations will not have an issue with this, but in our case, I can’t go posting confidential information to servers outside the company. It’s the same reason that we’ve had internal virtual worlds and social computing guidelines for a long time. Ultimately it’s the same reason why we have homegrown internal microblogging options, although we do also use external services like Twitter where confidential information is not at risk (and my preference is to be open by default, and use internal tools only where necessary).
- it defines a “company” based on email domain. Mine is a country-specific address, so I’ve ended up part of a Yammer community which is only for the UK section of the company. For a worldwide corporation, this defeats the object. Taking a look at Yammer’s pricing options, it looks like they have Silver and Gold paid plans that offer greater control and multiple domains… but I can’t imagine that we’d end up using those options.
I’m not taking potshots at Yammer for the fun of it… I can see that they do have a number of major clients, and when I’ve been to conferences I’ve met some of those who use the service – they’ve seemed happy with it. For me, it’s just not practical. I’m intrigued to note that even with the rush of new sign-ups which I can only assume are driven by the current Facebook advertising campaign, there’s almost no discussion going on in the community, with some people even redirecting folks back to Twitter or our internal tools in their very first posts…