“What’s the Difference Between IM and Yammer?”
September 23, 2008 3 Comments
It’s been a couple weeks since Yammer launched at TechCrunch50, and I assume Yammer is getting a road test out there in the workplace. One thing I saw after the launch was people wondering if Yammer was really just a copy of instant messaging. Here’s a representative tweet:
What’s cool about it? What’s the difference between IM and yammer?
Let’s hold off from noting the irony of posting that question on Twitter…
It is a fair question, because of their high similarity: short messages to a group of subscribers. But there’s so much more to the story.
Comparing IM and Yammer
The table below describes similarities and differences between instant messaging and microblogging (e.g. Yammer):
The table is pretty self-explanatory. Let me add a little more context from two blog posts related to this.
Sam Lawrence of Jive Software has a nice post, 18th Century Twitter. A quote from his post:
Everyday thousands of employees miss the opportunity to find people who can make what they’re doing less redundant or more valuable. What’s the ROI of a fully networked, 100% connected workforce? What’s the value of having all those connections saved for others to profit from?
And John Tropea writes about 140 characters to knowledge share. He makes several points about how Twitter inside the enterprise (e.g. Yammer) is a powerful basis for surfacing knowledge. In this quote, he comes at microblogging from a blogging perspective, not an IM perspective:
Twitters value contribution to the knowledge flow-spontaneous, unpolished, work in progress, thinking out loud-lends itself to this type or quality of participation due to its brief, immediate, and intimate publishing format…let’s hope internal blogs generate the same calibre of tacit value without being hindered by their format.
The fact that John looked at services like Yammer from a blogging perspective as opposed to an instant messaging perspective illuminates a key difference between IM and Yammer.
When you know what you write is visible to everyone, trackable and does not have the burden of being “on point” to recipients, you’re somewhere between instant messaging and blogging. I think Sam’s post does a nice job of summarizing the value of that.
I’m @bhc3 on Twitter.