Viral Aspects of Yammer

Some time ago I posted about Océ's enterprise microblogging initiatives. As you know Jan van Veen (Corporate Communications) and I are leading this project and enjoying it!

Recently Jane McConnell, the intranet guru, left a new comment on my post "Implementing Enterprise Microblogging with Yammer". She wrote:

Hi Samuel,
Good post. I'd already seen it, but now I have a specific question:
You talked about updating the org chart and it being a viral touch for spreading the use of Yammer. Could you explain a bit more. I didn't get exactly the relationship.

Good question. I was a bit short on this interesting topic.

One of the things I find interesting in technology adoption is: How do you get people to use a new tool or technology? Sometimes it's because everybody is using it. Another reason could be because it's superior technology with better features. One of the most interesting adoption strategies is making the technology or tool viral. Yammer does this. It uses an implicit invite mechanism.

Here's how it works. When you sign up for Yammer, you are presented with a list of people already in the Yammer network you signed up to. So, you select the colleagues/friends you want to follow. But when you sign up you can also fill in an 'org chart'. Basically Yammer asks you to fill in who you work with (colleagues) and who you work for (manager). If all Yammer users fill this is an org chart can be generated. Which is interesting.

Even more interesting - not many Yammer users realize this... - is the fact that when you fill in this org chart by filling in the email addresses of the people you work with and for, this is an implicit invite to them to join the Yammer network. So they automatically receive an email saying: Hey, person x joined Yammer and says he/she works with or for you, please also join this vibrant network. With one click he/she is in the network. In this way Yammer grows quickly. At least lots of people hear/read about Yammer.

I think this is a smart feature. Of course word of mouth is a powerful way to get people to join a network. But sometimes they need a little help.

Jane, I hope this helps!

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