Apparently Yammer Thinks I Can’t Manage Yammer Myself

The overwhelming mob

I don’t get this, I really don’t. I just got an email from Yammer telling me I can’t follow everyone at my company (pasted below). Why does Yammer care how many people I follow? According to them it’s because of their experience that creates a bad user experience.

Do you know how many posts a week the ENTIRE network of my company creates? About 3 posts a WEEK! I know, I’m pretty overwhelmed by that. Whew, however do I manage that torrent of content?

It’s obvious Yammer is monitoring some level of activity across their network. They are obviously monitoring my personal settings, why don’t they realize I follow everyone at my company just so I can see any activity across the network?

I’ve written about Yammer before and I like the service, I just don’t use it because it’s not integrated into any of the services I use. They have an API but because they don’t use the same API that Twitter uses (and everyone else does), which they don’t do because they’re an “internal” tool and need extra security, TweetDeck and the other services don’t integrate with it. End result: no Yammer in TweetDeck, HootSuite, Seesmic. works with it but I don’t like Just haven’t found a good way to make it work with my work flow.

Now this doesn’t mean Waggener Edstrom is not collaborative, we just prefer to use Twitter for our sharing and conversations, private Posterous accounts for non-public but non-confidential stuff and then SharePoint, videoconferencing, and old fashioned email for everything else. Now I understand that there is an Outlook add-in for Yammer, I just haven’t taken the time to figure out Outlook add-ins yet.

So what’s the point of this post? Mostly to vent; I hate being told I can’t use a service the way I want. But I’m not your average user and Yammer is still winning the internal microblogging battle so maybe they don’t (or shouldn’t) care what an early adopter, edge case thinks about how they limit/control their users experience.

What do you think?

Hi Tac,

We noticed you are Following Everyone in your Yammer network. Your interest in viewing all the messages in your company is fantastic.

Here’s the thing: as Yammer networks grow in companies, we’ve learned a few things. We’ve learned that as your company network gets bigger, Following Everyone can clutter up your MyFeed and impair your ability to find what’s most relevant to you.

On Friday, October 29th, you will stop following everyone in your network. Before then, you can start following updates from specific people at Waggener Edstrom by clicking here.

This way your MyFeed will be focused on the messages that matter to you most.

Don’t worry, you won’t miss anything by making these adjustments. You can still view all public messages by selecting your Company Feed. We understand this is a slight change in how you use Yammer, but we know this will greatly improve your ability to find important information from your colleagues — and help you get the most from your network.

The Yammer Team

Photo credit by Oblong

About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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  • Jessica

    Hi Tac,

    Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. I wanted to take a moment to shed some light on the decision we made to remove the Follow Everyone setting. Follow Everyone was a setting that allowed you to receive messages posted by everyone in your network without actually following people at an individual level. Many people had this setting enabled without realizing it, and as a result, their feed became “noisy,” making it hard for them to find relevant content. We’re removing the setting to preempt this situation and help people follow users that are relevant to them, ultimately making the feed more useful. It’s still possible to follow everyone in your network by manually selecting these users. We recognize that this will take a few minutes, but it will be helpful in the future. I appreciate you articulating your thoughts on this change, and I want to acknowledge that we did not clearly communicate the message. We apologize for that. I hope that this helps clarify the change we are making. Thanks again for sharing your input.

    Best Regards,

    Jessica Halper, Community Manager at Yammer

  • kathleen

    I agree that the user should make his own distinction about what’s noise and what’s useful. But, I think the problem lies in the tone of this sentence: “On Friday, October 29th, you will stop following everyone in your network.” It’s a mandate, and it immediately would make the reader defensive.

  • David Sacks

    Hi Tac-

    To be clear, you can still follow all the people in your Yammer network. The email we sent was extremely poorly worded and we apologize for that. The email should have conveyed that it was talking about a setting. The “Follow Everyone” setting is a checkbox that causes all the people in your network to be automatically followed. This setting is being discontinued, but you can still choose to follow all the people in your network individually.

    Why are we doing this? We know the auto-follow setting was convenient for a lot of people, but it also caused a lot of confusion. Users would click it and forget it and then not understand why their feed was becoming so noisy as the network grew. Also, the setting did not play well with regular follow buttons; for example, users would try to unfollow people and this couldn’t happen as long as the setting was checked. Finally the feature is expensive to maintain; this was not the primary motivator of our decision, but in light of the usability problems, it contributed to it.

    Nonetheless, we wouldn’t have discontinued the setting if there weren’t good alternatives. First, you can go to “Company Feed”. This feed shows messages by everyone in your network. Second, you can continue to follow everyone individually as they join your network. The Following Suggestions box on your home page suggests new people for you to follow. The Members directory also shows the newest members if you click the “Joined On” column header (this sorts by most recent). You can also follow the “Joined” topic to see a message in My Feed whenever someone joins the network.

    We hope one of these alternatives works for you. Please let us know. Again, we apologize for the poor communication.


    David Sacks

  • tacanderson

    David, like always, thanks for responding and clarifying.

  • tacanderson

    Thank you for your timely response Jessica.

  • tacanderson

    Agree, users like to feel they have options not like they’re being forced into something. I think this is the same problem Facebook falls into.