Is it Facebook? Twitter? No, it’s Yammer!

It looks a lot like Facebook, in that people can post things and others can see them and reply/comment immediately below in chronological order. It also enables instant messaging to members of the group.

But it also looks a lot like Twitter, what with the @someone identifiers appearing in posts, and the ability to follow or be followed. What it is, though, is Yammer—more specifically, the SPYam (SharePoint on Yammer) page recently created by members of the SharePoint community.

I get why people are excited about this. First of all, it’s now a part of Microsoft, and if there’s one thing that SharePoint people love, it’s Microsoft technology. Second, incorporated into a private network, Yammer can provide an excellent way to share documents, stories, diagrams and more with your colleagues and peers, and can be a very effective tool in a social business plan. Administrators can control who can join and what they can post, to keep it truly a meaningful place to engage for work.

But are there now just too many social tools? Is Yammer, at least for now, just one more click box in the world of social posting? I’m seeing the same names and faces that are posting to Facebook and Twitter. Do we need Yammer, and Twitter, and Facebook, and the next two or three big social things that undoubtedly come down the pike?

My answer to you is no, you don’t. At least not all at once. Many organizations should (and will) start to limit which social applications their employees can run on their desktops, to limit the huge time suck getting involved, say, in a Facebook political rant can represent. We’ll start to see, then, Yammer as the business social tool (Can you help me solve this problem?), Facebook as the after-hours personal social network (Here’s a picture of 9-months-pregnant niece), and Twitter as the “breaking news” feed that people will monitor to find out what’s happening now (Baby Jessica just born!).

To check out the SPYam site, go to Yammer, create an account, and find the external network SPYam.