I yam what I yam

When I was first invited to Yammer, shortly before I started my current job, I had an inkling that it could be useful – a sort of safe training ground for those who might not necessarily be comfortable branching out immediately into fully public social media platforms. As uptake spread like wildfire before Christmas, I was even more hopeful. Now though I see that’s not necessarily the case – nor should it be. Instead we have a situation that’s wonderfully described in a contribution to our digital day tumblr (if you’re interested it’s the post on sharing and serendipity).

I guess given the nature of my role – and my general online chattiness for want of a better phrase – it was inevitable that I’d be quite a heavy user. I also see it as the best way for me to keep an eye out for ways that I can spread the word about how our team can get involved in projects, and keep reminding people that we exist. It’s been a useful tool too for sharing info, in some cases breaking down hierarchies, and breaking down boundaries between both teams and locations. (So similar benefits to those accepted for public facing channels). The digital champions group Is one of the largest and has been the most effective recruiting tool that we have for that network.

I know some people have expressed concern that there is a relatively small active core of users, despite the number actually signed up to the system. But, I know from conversations that I’ve had that it even though many don’t actively participate, they’re watching the conversations with interest.  They may just not be comfortable or confident enough to participate themselves. There’s also a real issue for many of just how to build in the time – again having lived through policy roles I can totally appreciate how a day can pass by with no opportunity for participation. The only evidence I really need is the knowledge that I have been contacted many times by people who could only have heard of me through in any other ways

So should it be something that I get involved with at all? Other parts of the digital team, who were behind it’s introduction, took a light touch approach – so to the surprise of some people we don’t monitor usage stats, levels of engagement, or evaluate success in any systematic way. But because I’m a heavy user and because I use it to promote our expertise in social media there’s a presumption that we’re the team  to ask when Yammer training is required. If I was brutally honest I would tell people that it’s not part of my remit, and just to dive in and explore like I did. But I’ve been aware that sometimes a session on Yammer can lead to opportunities to explore other tools – but as demands for our time and expertise increase, that’s a luxury that I suspect I won’t be able to keep on affording.

So I’ll start saying no to requests for Yammer training as part of the day job (saying this here should be one way to make me stick to that!), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be interested on the side in how its use develops.

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