Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yammer beyond Yammer - the Yammer/e-mail bidirectional link

Back in July 2011, I observed that Yammer has a challenge. A number of my co-workers are on Facebook already, and some of my co-workers are on Google+. Although I'm not the only Yammer users in my corporation any more, there are significantly fewer co-workers on Yammer.

But Yammer has launched attempts to reach out to co-workers who are not on Yammer.

Need someone to chime in on a Yammer conversation, but they don’t happen to be a Yammer user? No problem – now you can include anyone in your organization in a Yammer discussion. Simply begin typing their email address into the CC bar of any message, and that coworker will receive a notification email alerting them of the Yammer conversation. They’ll be able to respond to your message simply by replying to the email – their message will be posted back to the relevant Yammer discussion.

Microsoft is not doing this out of any sense of altruism, of course.

Of course, that coworker can also choose to sign up for Yammer from the email and respond as a Yammer user.

And Yammer also is working in the other direction, making it easier to populate Yammer communities with outside content.

We’ve updated our email forwarding feature in a major way. Every Group in Yammer has an email address, and you can send emails to that Group email address in order to post messages into Yammer.

One odd thing about this feature - rather than storing the forwarded email as a message, the forwarded email is stored as a PDF. A little odd, but presumably there's a reason for this.

For me personally, the second new Yammer feature is more useful than the first. Among other things, it gives me the capability to re-create a private blog that I used to maintain in the Motorola days with biometric industry information. So, if I see something on my Outlook RSS feeds that seems interesting, I can send it to a particular Yammer email address and share it with other Yammer users at my company.

Obviously there are many other ways to accomplish the same thing, but I find this to be intriguing.
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