Tag Archive | Networking

What Makes Yammer Different?

Yammer Logo

I have started test driving Yammer. For the last six months, I have been using Twitter and getting great rewards from using it. So naturally a similar application that is tailored more for use in a corporate environment would spark my interest. Thus, I have created an account and convinced a few of my teammates to do the same.

It is a microblogging application like Twitter and is a fantastic app for collaboration and knowledge sharing. So, what makes it different?

  • It is a social network for only members of your organization. Only staff within your organization can sign into your network (i.e. they must have company email address to sign in).
  • Groups can be set-up (e.g. the training and development department can have its own separate group within the organization’s Yammer network).
  • You can go beyond the 140 character limit.
  • You can attach files (e.g. docs, presentations, etc.).
  • Detailed profiles for each member. This brings an important networking element. Like LinkedIn, it allows one to view a member’s employment and educational background, skills, interests, contact information, etc. So much of networking is the ability to know who you are interacting with and what they bring to the table.

What Yammer does not have:

  • There is no search feature for member profiles. At least not yet that I can see. Hopefully they will develop that ability. Being able to search for staff with a specific expertise would add a great deal of efficiency in using it for networking.
  • It does not have a TweetChat or TweetGrid type app that allows using hashtags to have a synchronous chat among numerous members. I have searched for such an app and have had no luck. Maybe Yammer or a third party will create one soon. If you do know of one, please let me know.

I am not promoting Yammer over Twitter, quite the contrary. Twitter is one of my most cherished apps and Yammer is quickly winning me over too. However, I will use Yammer to network and collaborate within my organization because it is tailored for the corporate environment. When it comes to networking with the greater e-learning world and then some, Twitter is my app for that.

If there is anything I missed in regards to what makes Yammer different, good or bad, please add a comment and let me know. Thanks.

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Online Professional Networking / Linked In Class So Far

LinkedIn logo
Thus far, I have conducted five face-to-face online professional networking classes, which focuses on leveraging Linked In for finding business opportunities and professional development opportunities. Class participants are bankers and/or staff from the bank’s support areas and most are very new to social media. I will highlight what has generated the most interest and discussion among the participants.
Groups

  • Many were not aware of the “groups” feature in Linked In.
  • They were impressed with the number and diversity of groups.
  • They were impressed with the amount and quality of the information available in group discussions.

Events

  • Participants were very interested in using this feature for finding development opportunities.
  • They were impressed with the extent to which they could easily search and find events based on keywords.

Who to connect with and how to find connections

  • I tied this to having a completed profile. This will allow you to easily search for past colleagues and fellow alumni. This also allows Linked In to suggest possible connections using keywords in your profile.
  • Join groups – keeping an eye out for people who have common professional interests or can assist you with reaching your professional goals and/or you can assist them.
  • Participants also wanted coaching on how to introduce themselves to a potential connection. I focused on the fact that they should connect with people they know or people in which they have a common and logical connection. Always personalize the introduction and request to connect, including how you know them or found them and your reason for connecting with them.
This is what my participants had the most questions, concerns and comments about. I did cover applications such as Trip It, Huddle Workspaces, Slide Share, etc. However, interest was low in the applications, aside from Events. I believe they saw these as features for advance users and for now just want to master the basics.

 

 

 

Predictions for 2009

My predictions for 2009:

With the continued economic difficulties, e-learning will grow due to its cost efficiency, or at least its perceived cost efficiency. And because of its low environmental impact it will become very attractive to companies wishing to become “green.”

Blogs and social media will grow as a knowledge management tool. It has already begun, but we will see it become more common place. And they will not only be used as learning tools internally, but also externally, reaching out and educating clients and customers.

Regard m-learning, Apple iPhone and Blackberry will finally adopt Flash Lite with many other phones following their lead. This will make Flash and Captivate the preferred development tools for m-learning.

Finally, after too many training departments are downsized, we will read Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation, again!

Can Linked In Help My Team and Boost the Training "Experience" We Deliver?

 

I am “Linked In,” but I do not consider myself a power user. In fact, it took a while for me to see much value in it. However, The more I add to my profile and make connections, the more it grows on me. Please note, I use it judiciously, adding only professional information and only make connections to people with whom I have worked, studied, networked or have a common professional interest. That said, I have encouraged members of my training department to get “linked in.” When I started to evangelize Linked In, I talked about the benefits from the top of my head, some of which is speculative, which I noted. So, here is what I told my colleagues on why we should get “linked in” and how it may benefit our department and our training participants.

How it will help our team:

  • Interconnect our networks – increase our our ability to identify each others’ individual resources (network connections).  These  connections may be internal or external to our own organization. Either way, we could all tap into, and benefit from, this larger network.
  • Better identify each others’ skills and certifications. Although we are a tight and communicative group, there are skills and knowledge we each possess that we may not have fully inventoried and used to the benefit of the larger group.
  • Simply learn more about each other, strengthening the cohesiveness of our team. It’s amazing what one can learn from reading a person’s profile, including their network and the groups in which they belong. Of course we must be cognisant that others are viewing our profiles. Personal information you do not wish to share with co-workers needs to reside somewhere else. Try Facebook or My Space for your “TMI.”

Here is how it will help our training endeavours:

  • Know your audience! Right? Although measuring for prior knowledge must still occur in the classroom, having participants linked in could improve this event.
  • Measuring for prior knowledge is a bit different in e-learning. It can be done in a synchronous event. For an asynchronous event, it must be done in a self directed environment and be self-reflective. Back to Linked In, the e-learning designer can use Linked In to know their audience in conjunction with the needs analysis conducted prior to the design stage.
  • Participants should also know their trainer/facilitator. How much are we really able to share during our classroom introduction? With Linked In, participants can connect and learn much more about the trainer, increasing confidence in their trainer and better understanding the trainer’s perspective and expectations.
  • If participants get “Linked In,” this can happen with the encouragement of trainers and e-learning designers, increased networking can domino throughout the organization.
  • If participants AND Trainers get “Linked In,” increased communication can occur between the two during and after training. The increase after training can include coaching, training evaluation, and updates to content. All of which are advantageous to both classroom training and e-learning.

 My conclusion, if trainers and participants are active in a networking site (Linked In or a compatible site) it can benefit the training team, their learning events, and the training participants.

 FYI: My Linked In profile – http://www.linkedin.com/in/minutebio