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Yammer: The Useful Social Network

Facebook, as we know, allows people of all generations to post statuses and upload tagged pictures of what you did last night (most commonly known as “I can’t believe I did that” moments).

Aside from that, Facebook can be a place to “reunite” with people you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. But as Pauly D would say about Facebook, “Lezbihonest, people just like to see what’s going on in other people’s lives and how good they look in pictures.”

Then there’s Twitter: the place where everyone can see where you are or what you are doing. Personally, I believe if someone needs to know where I am or what I am doing, I’ve probably told them myself, but then again Twitter is actually growing on me and it is kind of interesting to see how it works.

More importantly, though, there is Yammer. Even though it launched in 2008, I had only heard of it this semester. And it is actually very interesting.

I’m not tech savvy and unfortunately it doesn’t come with instructions, but professors on campus are trying to incorporate it into activity amongst themselves and their students.

Dr. David Passmore, education professor, is an avid Yammer user. He posts assignments and projects to his students through Yammer. Though now he says it’s mostly graduate students, he hopes to incorporate it in his classroom in the future for his undergrads.

Here are features within this network that Passmore believes are assets:

  • Main asset: 24/7 Communication: “While the old man is sleeping at four in the morning,” Passmore says, “they [the students] can work. Then I can see it [the message and/or work] in the morning.”
  • Quick communications: People within the group can see a message and answer quickly.
  • Closed communication: The loop of communication is shortened; it only allows for those involved within the network to see what is being posted (an asset Facebook is lacking).
  • Events: Easy access allows for assignments to be broadcasted within the group.
  • Files: Videos and documents can easily be posted with minimal problems.

Cole Camplese, of the Senior Director of Teaching and Learning with Technology, is also pro-Yammer. Though most professors use ANGEL, Camplese claims more professors are incorporating new tools within that learning environment.

Camplese likes how easy it is to make groups within Yammer.

This functionally makes it an interesting choice for course discussions. I’ll probably experiment with using Yammer when I am teaching in the spring so I’ll have more first hand experience at that point.

Even though Camplese supports Yammer, his suggestions for a professor are not to dive into it without any background knowledge or without a proper understanding. But he highly encourages to be playful and experimental with the new “social network.”

Passmore believes that it is a “great product,” but he fears the dangers. Due to a mass amount of web space, it might be a product that comes and goes. He claims there is a huge risk of it leaving the Internet world.

Because of this web space, anyone can just pick it up and buy it. Then the owner can do whatever with it. Yammer has many positive attributes but many might not see its full potential. Some might make it out to be a mini Facebook and that Yammer might not have the viewers or users to compete with other networks.

I don’t believe Yammer is a miniature form of Facebook. Yammer provides easier ways of communicating and most certainly shows more class. More professors should bring this into the classroom, allowing students to interact with their professors and subject at hand. And we already know #ANGELsucks.

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