Communities in Yammer is a new feature available 1st March 2010 following a Yammer redesign, where users can create a community to connect with partners, advisors, customers, parent company, suppliers and consultants.
The first phase of Yammer released in September 2008 enabled secure internal microblogging communications within a company. Presently, a company network is only available to users who share a work email domain. Phase 2 extends these networks to multiple partners associated with the company (using any email address) called “B2B Social Graph.”
The Yammer interface will have a new look as a result of the redesign, with new tabs so that users can easily create a community, switches between networks, and link networks. The desktop client will also look slightly different, and an iPhone app has been introduced.
The advantages of communities created in Yammer’s B2B Social Graph are that content is readily available to users, and that the content is secure. Communities are still available within in the “Freemium” pricing model set up in phase 1, that is, access is free, and ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ levels buy added features.
To date, the use of Yammer has been attractive due to its ease of use. The introduction of communities has been designed so that users don’t need advanced technical skills to operate them.
A risk that would need to be controlled is enabling “e-discovery” that is, the court-ordered hand-over of electronic communications. A data back-up would only be possible with a premium account.
My experience of using Yammer in a Government Department since September 2008 confirms it as an easy-to-use social communication tool, handy for keeping in touch in with friends at other workplaces and helpful for making new acquaintances – I like to visualise my social/work structures. I am keen to investigate how Yammer’s B2B Social Graph can strengthen interactions with my client groups.