Yesterday I logged in to check out Yammer, the Twitter for Business. What Yammer has created is the innovation that Twitter was not able to: a way to create social media tool for businesses and come up with a business model to charge for the service.
Yammer is essentially a channel-ized twitter. But the channel is only other people in your business; they force that by using the domain of your email address to create or add you to a channel. Now, your status updates are only seen by your co-workers. And if you start to carry on a conversation in your channel, you can view messages based on threads.
Where I think it gets interesting is their business model. Offer the service for free, but then charge the company for an Admin privileges on the channel. An Admin can brand the channel for the company, control members of the channel and even provide security by restricting the channel so you can only log in from the corporate network.
The problem with Yammer? It’s yet another social communication channel. The whole social networking services have become way to fractured. Too many places to network. Not enough time accomplishing anything. To use the phrase “social not-working” is getting more an more applicable. (on that point, Yammer was developed by the Geni team…how’s that for not working.) The advantage of a service like FriendFeed is that it is one place to check all your social networking feeds, even if you can only reply back via FriendFeed.
The openess of the web needs to be extended so that something like Yammer can be a piece of infrastructure that can be plugged into multiple other services. One think I like about Twitter is that there are 3rd party interfaces. I have enough web browser windows open on my desktop as it is, I need less not more. As fredrickvan tweeted today, the key is keeping your social touch points in control. While Yammer figured out a way to make money off of the status message, it’s just another social touch point that we have to manage.