Wednesday 3 March 2010

From closed to open: Yammer 180's the entire Yammer-model

Logo use courtesy of Yammer, of course

Last week Yammer announced the "next wave in Enterprise microblogging"

This weekend, on the very last day of February 2010, Yammer launched Communities. And it went so fast there isn't even an entry on them in the Help section
Communities are quite a shock to most people using Yammer for a while. Information is very scarce, labels are inconsistently used, and there's been a bit too much hardcoding done by Yammer itself.

If you want to create a Community, you have to click "Create Network" from the network you're in. That first Network there actually should read Community
If you have created a Community, it's labelled Private Community by default in the right side of the community space. No matter what setting you pick, it keeps saying the same thing: Private Community

Where Yammer went wrong is by labelling them as "Private Communities" where these are obviously open. I prefer using Open versus Closed over Public versus Private, as anything on the Internet isn't really private, unless you're the only member yourself

What little people realise is that the entire Yammer model 180-ed over the weekend. From being closed and siloed it has become wide-open for anyone. Closed meaning that you're always absolutely certain that only people from the same email domain (...@company.domain) can read and write messages. Those closed networks can now be linked via open communities. Where networks are reserved to email domains, communities aren't. Anyone can be invited to or request to join a community. It's up to the admin to allow whetehr only he or she, or also all members can invite people
So even if you made the explicit agreement with the community admin to only invite people from the same email domain, there's nothing preventing him or her from doing so

Biggest surprise to everyone is that communities aren't children of a network: they're parents themselves, fully standalone entities. I'm expecting some discussion with my employer these coming days about me having 21 communities, allowing my employer's employees easy access into some. We'll just have to redefine our mutual level of trust, I think. People still refer to them as's Communities, where they're really mine (if there is such a thing, of course - they're Yammer's in the first place)

My Yammer account changed from being fully company-based to fully me-based. After Facebook and Google making your private stuff public, Yammer now follows - but they do it more discretely. Stowe Boyd will love it, and there certainly will be a lot being said about all this for some time to come

8 reacties:

Stowe Boyd said...

Kind of shocking to see my name in the last sentence. I am not sure that I love it, because the transition from the old model to the new is going to be troublesome, especially if it is not well-published, which apparently it is not.

Martijn Linssen said...

I'm sorry if you find that shocking Stowe, I can remove or rephrase that if you want of course. I thought (assumed) you might love it because it proves yet again that 'publicy' as you name it is the new rule, and what one thought to be private might become public overnight

And no, it is not well-published at all. Like I said, it's entirely unYammer to do what has been done now. Especially the wrongly labeled Network and Private Community are very misleading

We're discussing things in as we speak

Stowe Boyd said...

I was being ironic. No problems.

That community appears to require a capgemini email address, btw.

Martijn Linssen said...

A former colleague also had problems signing up but I sent him an invite and he made it - but he's now having problems navigating out of there to other communities he's a member of

Quoting him:

As you can imagine, I've been playing a bit with it. But somewhere there seems to be a company link. If I am in this community, and go to the 'Communities' page via the menu on top, there's not much I can do. Probably because this community is related to the Capgemini network. However, if I go to one of my other communities (created for test purpose first) then I can create new ones. Somehow the terms Community and Network seem to be a bit mixed up. With them both being the same things, as being different things

Unquote. Confusing? Heck yeah. By the way just got a Capgemini PoV dropped in one of our communities, this sure is going to give Yammer some publicity to say the least

Martijn Linssen said...

See? I said "our communities". Of course I mean to say "the communities" or even "my communities"

This is all so very unYammer, wouldn't be surprised if companies temporarily locked down their yammer network until stuff clears up - if it does

David Sacks said...

Hi Martijn-

Today we'll be releasing more comprehensive documentation and a number of refinements to the user interface, which will help clarify how communities work and fit into the larger design of Yammer.

Among other things, we will clarify that there is in fact a "parent-child" relationship between company networks (based on email domain) and communities created from inside them.

I must take issue with your statement that Yammer has become "wide-open for anyone". Communities are private and based on the invitation of the admin. Company networks are still based on verifying a company email address. There is no mixing of the two.

We implemented communities so that companies could communicate with external parties in a private space outside their company network. These "child" communities are linked from their company network, but all membership and data is completely separate.

We will continue to improve our documentation and UI in the coming days so that all of this is clearer. In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming.


David Sacks
CEO, Yammer

Martijn Linssen said...

Thank you David, I highly appreciate it!

I see great value in having communities in between networks as a way of collaborating on mutual topics across organisations - but it does take some getting used to for the average Yammer

On the "wide-open" I understand your point of view, there's ample space between that and explaining that it's up to people inviting others on how open that really is, or becomes

We'll gather our feedback in in the meantime, seems like an appropriate place!

Timbo said...

It would be nice to know what terminology we should all be using: "verified networks"; "networks"; "communities"... something entirely other?

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