I am a huge fan of Yammer, but this guidance goes for any enterprise collaboration tool that you might be using. I now receive too many e-mails to keep up with. If I spent my whole day processing e-mail I wouldn’t be able to get through it. So I don’t try anymore.
For this reason I’ve actively been trying to shift more and more of my collaboration to Yammer to try and leverage my network as a way of coping with the volume.
Quite a bit of my e-mail volume is notification messages from Yammer which I will soon be turning off (except for direct e-mails or replies to threads I’ve engaged in) since the Yammer app on my phone uses notifications to let me know about things that I’ll be interested in.
What this means is that I am starting to move to a model where e-mail is more for external organisations who don’t use Yammer (or some other tool). Is Yammer a perfect replacement for e-mail? Nope! Both tools have a place and one of the tricks of being an effective communicator is to know when to use e-mail, phone, Yammer or any other mechanism.
Personally I’m looking forward to caring less about my Inbox.
The first sentence of Yammer posts should capture the essence of your topic to better engage your audience. If you don’t, summary representations of your post risk having their message hidden below the fold.
I work in an organisation that is taking advantage of Yammer. This tool can help lift the burden on e-mail volume and increase collaboration by being more open.
When I make an internal announcement I prefer to make it on Yammer because I can see feedback and dip in and out of the conversation.
Posts on Yammer lack a dedicated subject field. This might seem to be a critical flaw in the service, but I have come to appreciate it. When a Yammer post gets displayed in summary form only the first few chunks of text are visible. This is true of e-mail notifications and digests, mobile applications and the Yammer Inbox.
This means that posters to Yammer need to capture interest in the first sentence of their post. If you waffle you risk having the message missed in the stream of content on the enterprise social media tool.
I have found this constraint to be a blessing in disguise. My flowery writing style has begun to change as a result. This teaches me that constraints aren’t always negative. Sometimes they have positive consequences as the following articles can attest.
- Embrace Constraints in Getting Real by 37signals (now Basecamp)
- Why Innovators Love Constraints in HBR by Whitney Johnson
- Constraints Drive Innovation by Jim Highsmith
Recently one tool that has helped me deal with this constraint is Hemingway, a simple web-based app. Hemingway analyses text and reports what grade level you are writing and other characteristics. The following screenshot is an earlier version of the text in this article. You can see for yourself how the content has evolved.
Perhaps one of the lessons I need to relearn is brevity, and with that I will end my post.