Yammer 201: Yammer as Internal Podcast Platform

The fact that we’re in the 200-level courses doesn’t mean we’re done with the 100 level, but that we’re talking about an unorthodox and somewhat creative use of the Yammer platform.

As I indicated in Yammer 110, Yammer now allows the upload and sharing of documents or files. And it’s not just limited to PDFs, spreadsheets or Word documents. You also can upload mp3 files, and I did one of those that was 18 MB.

That got me thinking: what if a company decided to use Yammer as a way of distributing “podcasts” to its employees?

It would be unconventional, which is why I put “podcasts” in quotes. A podcast is typically considered a series of audio or video files to which you can subscribe via RSS. By that measure, a Yammer “podcast” wouldn’t exactly fit the definition.

So I’m coining a new term:

Yammercasting

A yammercast is an audio file you distribute through Yammer, and it has some significant advantages over other means of distribution.

You could just send an audio file to your employees as an email attachment. But most enterprises have size limits on their email attachments, which also would necessarily limit the length of your audio message. That may not be entirely bad if it keeps you from droning on, but even with those limits you’re talking about a huge potential storage problem on your email servers.

For example, a 5 MB file sent as an attachment to 20,000 employees would require 100 GB of expensive email server storage. And if they forward the file to an average of one other person, that adds another 100 GB of “sent items” storage. Those numbers are bad enough, but the storage requirements could easily spiral out of control.

And besides, if it’s an internal audio message, including it as an attachment practically invites it to be forwarded outside the company.

Another alternative is to post the file on a page on your company intranet. That solves the email server problem, but you still have to drive employees to the page so they can download and listen. That typically means including a link in a company email newsletter.

And what if it’s just a message for a particular department, division or team? Posting on the intranet makes it available to any employee behind your firewall.

Yammercasting is a better alternative to both because it combines storage and notification in a single step, and it enables company (or group) conversation around the subject matter of the audio file.

The world’s first yammercast was sent at 10:12 p.m. CST on Dec. 1, 2008 to members of the Mayo Clinic Social Media team. I know they’re all thrilled to be part of social media history. And as SMUGgles you get to participate vicariously, even if you can’t hear the actual audio file.

(That, by the way, is an advantage of a yammercast as opposed to sending an audio file as an email attachment. If a yammercast recipient forwards the message outside the company, others can’t hear it because they can’t get into the company Yammer site.)

Here’s what it looked like after I had recorded my one-minute message and uploaded to Yammer, but before I hit the “Update” button to post it:

World's First Yammercast
World's First Yammercast

And at 10:15, in a “Watson, come here! I need you!” moment, one of my team members complied with my request and forwarded to me the message she had received via email from Yammer:

yammercastemail

By clicking the link that says (1 attachment) she and other members of the team were able to listen to the audio file (although she confessed at 10:18 that she hadn’t actually listened to the file, but had just forwarded the message.)

At 6:33 this morning another team member, Joel Streed, closed the loop by listening to the first yammercast. And as I arrive for work on the bus, here’s the related discussion on our historic event:

picture-22

Try that with posting your audio file to a static HTML intranet site!

I’d also like to start an experiment, to see how quickly and broadly terms like yammercast and yammercasting can spread. When I Googled them this morning, I got this result:

picture-28

Only two results, clearly not related to this topic of distributing audio files through Yammer, and both links are dead.

So, I would appreciate it if SMUGgles would Tweet or Retweet about this or use the social sharing buttons below to spread the word. I think it could be a fun experiment in the dissemination of a term, but more importantly the underlying concept of yammercasting could be a means of tailored audio communication within the enterprise.

What do you think? Does yammercasting have a future?

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

2 thoughts on “Yammer 201: Yammer as Internal Podcast Platform”

  1. This looks interesting. I think its future is case by case depending on the company, but it has worthwhile possibilities.

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