I have been a long time user of Twitter for mass community connectedness. I started using it quite some time ago and while my use of the tool seems to ebb and flow, I do find it very useful on all sorts of levels. When I first started using it I was instantly struck by the power the tool could have to help my own work unit stay connected. So far it has served that purpose and a host of others — binding the PSU community, helping me stay connected to distant colleagues, and more. The one thing that always bothered me was the tool’s inability to let me focus Tweets to a group of people in a simple and native way.
Tonight as I was catching up on feeds I came across a new tool from the TechCrunch50 conference going on, Yammer. Yammer is a Twitter knock off with a few new twists. The first, and most important to me, is the notion that it is a private network open only to those in your organization with a valid @yourdomain.edu(com, biz, tv, etc) email address. What that means is that when you sign up you are signing up to participate in a network only made up of those within your organization. Along with it are a handful of enterprise-like features that make this an amazing little Intranet addition with the power of Twitter. I know people will jump at me and say this is a closed and walled garden, but take a little bit of time to investigate the product and then think about how powerful Twitter would be as part of an organizational email replacement strategy, dynamic directory, and a collaborative toolset that only you and your co-workers could access. I think there is potential.
I’d urge you to take a look at it by signing up or watching the quick overview video. There are features here that could be very useful. I actually invited a few people from ETS who I thought might like it (or hate it) … I’d just like some people to hang out with in there for a bit to learn more. Going in, I think it will be tough to make it work at PSU as there are a ton of people with @psu.edu email address, but who knows. I think it may be worth a look. Let me also say I don’t see this as a Twitter killer for me … my Twitter network has huge upside, I just see this as another way to get on top of constant organizational information needs. Take a peek and let me know what you think!