Neville Hobson

Twitter for the enterprise from Yammer


However new start-up Yammer describes itself, I guess itâ€s inevitable that people are going to think of it as “Twitter for the enterprise.”

The comparison is a good one, though, as what Yammer offers is, broadly speaking, the features and functionality of Twitter but in a more private way thatâ€s geared for groups of employees to exchange short and frequent answers to the simple question: What are you working on?

Anyone can set up a Yammer account (Iâ€ve done that as the screenshot above indicates). To do so, you have to have what Yammer calls a valid company email. They have blocks in place to not accept sign-ups from webmail addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.

Once youâ€ve signed up, you can then invite colleagues, etc, on your company-domain email system to join your network.

This is just like Twitter except itâ€s behind your own email firewall, so to speak.

And just like Twitter, you can do these things:

Yammer adds quite a bit more, though, than what you currently can do with Twitter itself, such as:

The basic service Iâ€ve described is free. There is a pay-for model that offers functions such as managing members, setting password and other policies, IP address range settings, and more.

These aspects alone are likely to make the IT department feel more comfortable with a service that runs on another companyâ€s servers. In the cloud, in fact.

Yammer also provides a desktop application (cross-platform and built with Adobe AIR, quite elegant) as well as mobile apps for the iPhone and Blackberry.

I can see a big appeal for a collaborative communication tool like this within organizations. You have all the benefits of Twitter but just within your own domain, as it were.

Yammer launched yesterday at the TechCrunch 50 Conference in San Francisco.

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