Micro-blogging for the inexperienced enterprise

Yesterday the winner of TechCrunch50 was announced. I had been a little curious because I thought there were some very interesting start-ups – but I must say I was a bit disappointed.

Perhaps it’s my own fault. Perhaps I’m one of those social media geeks, a first mover etc. who thinks everything needs to be very new and exciting before I like it. But still I think that the winning start-up was a little disappointing.

So let’s take a look at the winner – Yammer.

What is it? It’s a Twitter-like application for businesses.
The difference from Twitter is that this application is in a closed enviroment. Only people with a valid company email address can start a free Yammer network.
That way it’s only people from the same company who can access the same Yammer network.

And that’s basically a good thing – but what is the news? What is the “big thing”? Apparently the “big thing” is that there’s a paying service included. Which means that the start-up company in fact has a possible way of making an income from day one and therefore don’t need to introduce online advertising or other ways of make a buck later on. The service you have to pay for is the Admin privileges. If you want to manage the members of your company-Yammer you will have to pay $1 pr month pr. member.

And that’s it. Everything else you can have better on Twitter or Jaiku. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good application – but not so good that it should be able to win as the best start-up.

But there are of course some possibilities. The best one is that Yammer would fit enterprises which are inexperienced with in the social media. It’s a way for them to get introduced to the “Twitter-way” and thereby perhaps get them to use social media within the company and perhaps even make a social media policy. But I think that Yammer will end up banging it’s head against the “corporate-security-wall”. Not many IT-departments will allow Yammer if they won’t allow applications like Twitter.

I hope it will catch on – because everything which can get companies to use social media is a good thing. But a winner application in a competition with the best start-ups? No way…


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