...“I’m working on the Acme revision” …versus microblogging, say, at a party: “I’m so drunk.” Microblogging is blogging, but posts are limited in length (say 140 characters). Twitter is one of the most famous microblogging platforms. The key question for me is whether (and how), microblogging can help with coordination at work. In prior posts I’ve discussed the value of situational awareness amongst team members and the possible value of Twitter, but there hasn’t been a serious push for microblogging in work organizations – until recently. Claire Cain Miller’s article in the WSJ Business Innovation Technology Society (BITS) section focuses on Yammer and the possible value of microblogging in organizations. Yammer is similar but different from Twitter in that Yammer’s key questions are “What's happening at your company?,” “What’s happening on the project” versus the less formal Twitter “What are you doing?” (“Thinking about what's for lunch”). Miller’s article touches on the value of short updates and speaks to Yammer’s founder, David Sacks, about microblogging versus email and IM:
E-mail no longer serves its proper purpose, which is to request an active response, Mr. Sacks said. All the rest of the stuff that clogs in-boxes — mass e-mails sharing a link to an article, for example, or notifications of company events — makes e-mail less efficient. He wants to move all that to Yammer.
I certainly agree with the idea that email is broken for many of our organizational and team coordination needs, but I’m not sure if a stand alone microblogging platform is the solution. I’m still thinking about how we can support collaboration and work performance more as a symphony and perhaps less as jazz improvisation. Even with jazz, collaborators understand the possible instruments and how they best intertwine. We aren’t there yet with our understanding of work collaboration and its support. We do need to support situational awareness within teams – especially in virtual work situations. Knowing when and how to communicate, document, and discuss are key to team performance. Tools like Yammer are an additional method, but the value will be in how the tool is interconnected with the team’s process. Further reading: Whitepaper on microblogging and Twitter  Discussion of Twitter for enterprise use Twitter hall of shame