Our Yammer user wanted to know who had read his post so he could get more responses. He wanted to tag users. He wanted to send them an email. He wanted to do whatever he could to elicit response and conversation in the group he just created.
I really couldn’t blame him. Just below his post, Yammer told him it was Seen by 35 People. He wanted to know who those people were so he could engage them further. But Yammer is stoic. Obstinate. It is only sharing the information that it wants to share, and our Yammer user was frustrated.
I encouraged our user to temper his frustration. In Facebook, he can see who saw his group post. That may work for Facebook, but Facebook is not Yammer. Facebook is not work.
As wonderful as transparency can be for any organization, and something we should all strive for, our colleagues should also have a right not to be transparent. They should be able to look at a post, and not feel at risk that they are going to be brought into a conversation or a project they don’t want to be involved with. They should be able to mistakenly click on a link, or look at a GIF file, without unknowingly committing themselves to sharing an opinion, or worse yet, being assigned to a committee.
Privacy and transparency are heated issues in the world of Enterprise Social Networks. We want private groups, unless we want everyone to see our post. We want to know who saw our post, but we don’t want others to know what we are doing. We recognize the value of openness and transparency, until we need to be talking about someone else. If we are a network admin, we feel we have a right to see anything and everything. If we are making an announcement, we want every single person to know it.
So, without further adieu pontificating, I offer my guide to privacy and transparency in Yammer.
Groups: Unless absolutely necessary, unless you are dealing with sensitive or confidential information, your group should be public. Much more to be gained through a slight risk of having too many people see your post than not having enough people see your post.
Access: Whether you are the person who made the post, the moderator of a conversation, the administrator of a group, or the administrator of a network, Yammer will never show you all the information you are hoping to see. There will always be one more fact, one more morsel of info that, for whatever reason, you will never see. Accept it. Embrace it. Move on.
Remember the Bell: So often, I see the little bell icon in the upper left hand corner of users Yammer screens with dozens and dozens of unread notifications. Review that bell regularly…it has a goldmine of information for you.
View Group Insights: Boom! It’s right there on the page. Just on the right side, about halfway down. There for everyone to see. Mic drop. Exit stage left. See how your group has performed for the last week, month or twelve months. What posts have worked? What has elicited feedback and response? Check it out…it’s right there!
Privacy, especially in our professional organizations, is never an easy issue. If we share more than we don’t. If we are more transparent than we are not. If we are more trustful than we are suspicious. If we are more open than we are closed. If we do these things, we should all be just fine.