Yammer 202: Video Yammercasting

As I learned by trial and error, and as Keith from the Yammer team confirmed in the comments on Yammer 201, there is a limit on the file sizes you can share through Yammer: 20 MB. I had tried a 35 MB file, but that was rejected as being too large.

But there doesn’t seem to be a file type limitation. I did a 1:25 video yammercast (17 MB) yesterday and it worked well. I interviewed myself via Flip and then sent the QuickTime file via Yammer to one of my work teams.


It did take them a couple of minutes to download, so when you yammercast a larger file you may want to be sure to include some significant text in the Yammer post, so that in case the recipients don’t download the video they would still get the main point of the communication.

Keith included a helpful link to the Yammer blog that gives more detail on the file-sharing feature.

Yammer has built a lean, efficient platform for sharing. I like how photos that can be suitably displayed through the Yammer interface are embedded in posts, but larger, more complicated audio and video files can just be downloaded to be seen or heard in QuickTime or Windows Media Player.

If you want to share video with the world, YouTube is your great choice. But if you want to confine the distribution to your company, or to a work group within your company, try a yammercast.

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Asking the Right Questions about PR and Social Media

Tomorrow I have an opportunity to discuss social media and how it is changing the practice of public relations with students from the University of St. Thomas’ chapter of the PRSSA.

Jessica Snell, a St. Thomas junior who is in charge of the noon program, sent me a list of questions as a starting point for discussion. If getting the right answers depends on beginning by asking the right questions, I think they’re off to a good start.

We won’t get to all of these in an hour, but if any SMUGgles have interesting answers, perspectives and stories you would like me to share with the students, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Meanwhile, I’ll start updating this post with some of my answers to those questions.

• In what ways do you feel that the field of public relations is changing due to the use of social media technologies?

– Journalists interacting with PR professionals through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

– It’s not just media relations, but is really public relations.

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• How are social media technologies being used specifically in the health care field?

Many health care providers have YouTube channels. Here are channels for Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson and MUSC. See some of our podcasting and blog offerings in the links below. We also have a Facebook “fan” page.

• What impact do social media technologies have in a crisis communication/issues management? (e.g., beneficial way to get out important info.? harmful rumors spread quickly?)

See this post on Facebook Crisis Communications and this one one Twitter and Facebook “off-label” uses. See the 35W bridge collapse group in Facebook.

• Have social/digital media technologies changed the way you work with journalists?

Absolutely, whether through Facebook and Twitter interactions or through our News Blog.

• Have social/digital media technologies changed the way you communicate with patients?

See our Podcast blog, which lets us share much more in-depth information with patients (and lets them ask questions), and our Facebook page.

• What skills do you believe are important for students to develop for projects that incorporate social media technologies?

– Start and sustain a blog

– Writing

– Shooting and editing video

– Photography

– Basic familiarity with the types of social networking tools

– Interactivity

• How do you recommend keeping up with all of the changes in the digital world? Is important to know about, and participate in every new thing to be a good PR practitioner?

– Like some foul-mouthed broadcasters need a seven-second delay, consider a seven-day or seven-week delay before jumping after every shiny new toy.

– It’s more important to think creatively about how to use new but fairly mainstream technologies instead of being the first to use a hot new tool.

– I would be remiss – given that your tuition at UST is $27,722 – if I failed to urge you to enroll in SMUG.

– Check out my Slideshare slideshows and slidecasts to see some of the presentations I’ve done (some of the slides will be similar to what I presented today) as well as some of the SMUG curriculum.

• What challenges do you believe students should be prepared to address when working on campaigns that incorporate social media technologies?

– FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

– Skepticism about how a social media slingshot can compete with mass media. Remember Goliath. Remember George Allen.
• What ethical challenges have emerged when using social media technologies in a PR context?

– Temptation to comment anonymously or “game” the rankings in Digg or on other social sites. Yield not.

• What is important for young professionals to know about our ability to measure results when using social media technologies as part of PR campaigns?

– Measurement is a significant advantage for social media as compared with mainstream media.

– You can justify based on tangible outcomes, and then have intangibles as icing.

• What is important for young professionals to know about working with clients (or management) when recommending social media strategies?

– See the FUD observation above

– Show examples of mainstream success with social media, from well-established companies and brands. The Blog Council is a group of large companies using social media internally and externally, and here is our Alltop page.

– Keep costs low and show them how easy it can be using free and/or open source solutions.

– Engage front-line employees instead of thinking all communication needs to come from the PR team.

• What types of technologies or applications should students be familiar with (e.g., Facebook, RSS feeds, Digg, Twitter, Ning, Linked In, Technorati, Google Analytics, del.icio.us, YouTube, blogs, podcasts, designing a Web site, etc.)?

All of the above. You need to develop an understanding for each of the kinds of tools, so you can select or recommend the right one for the job. If all you have is a hammer….

• What impact do you believe the Internet and social media technologies are having on how PR, advertising and marketing professionals work together?

• What advice do you have for helping the areas of PR, advertising and marketing work together successfully?

• Please describe a recent project/campaign that you feel illustrates how public relations is impacted by the use of social media technologies.

• What aspects of the project represent a change or shift in PR practice, and what elements remain unchanged from traditional PR practice?

I welcome any other thoughts people may have to share with students from the UST chapter of PRSSA. They would, too.

Facebook 109: Uploading a Video to Facebook

Facebook‘s video player isn’t as popular as its photo sharing application (which is the most popular photo sharing site in the world), but it’s a great way to share video with a defined group of people.

In YouTube, you have the choice of sharing either with the whole world or with a group of up to 25 of your YouTube friends. There’s really no intermediate option.

In Facebook you can make the sharing much more widespread without sharing with the world. And you can “tag” your video with the names of your Facebook friends who are featured, which makes it likely that they and their friends will see it, because it will show up in their news feeds.

It’s also possible to share videos just with members of a group, whether its members are all friends of yours or not. So, for example, I uploaded some videos of my daughter’s volleyball team to a group I had created as an on-line “booster” club.


Here’s a video screencast for Facebook 109, demonstrating how you can upload a video to your personal Facebook profile:


Advantages of Facebook for Video Sharing:

  1. If Facebook users see and like your video, it’s really easy for them to share it with their Facebook friends (assuming you’ve allowed either Everyone or Friends of Friends to have access).
  2. As mentioned above (and as demonstrated in the screencast) you can limit who can see your video much more precisely. For example, you could customize the sharing so only friends can see, except those who are on your “Work Friends” list.
  3. Given Facebook’s popularity for photo sharing, it’s nice to be able to share both photos and videos on the same site.
  4. Users can comment on your videos, but they use their real names instead of relatively anonymous YouTube user IDs. This makes it more likely those commenting will behave themselves, and will reduce the potential crudity factor.
  5. The quality of the player is really good, especially with the new H.264 encoding.

Some disadvantages of using Facebook instead of YouTube:

  1. You can’t embed the Facebook player in your blog. People can only see the video on Facebook. This makes your content less portable. For instance, the screencast above was uploaded to my YouTube account and then embedded here. You could embed it in your blog if you’d like.
  2. You don’t get traffic figures on how many people are watching your video.
  3. People who aren’t in Facebook can’t see your video (at least I think not). If you don’t have a Facebook profile, please click this link and let us know in the comments whether you could see the video I uploaded during the tutorial. So if you want to share a video and don’t particularly care who sees it (and want it to be seen as widely as possible), YouTube is your best choice.

It isn’t, of course, an either/or proposition. You can upload videos to both YouTube and Facebook, but that’s double the work, double the upload time. An alternative is to upload your videos to YouTube, and then post the link to your video on your Facebook profile, page or group.


  1. Create a video file. If you need help in how to create a video file, check out these posts about the Flip.
  2. Upload the file to the SMUG group in Facebook.
  3. Share the video link with some Facebook friends (as you saw in the screencast), or post it to your Facebook profile.

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LinkedIn Application Platform: A Major Advance

In a playful, tongue-in-cheek, maybe even SMUG sense, I’ve previously called LinkedIn “social networking without the social.” So the announcement last night of its Applications platform raises its usefulness significantly from my perspective.

I first saw this news in my WordPress dashboard as I was writing a post last night, and went to install the WordPress application, which is supposed to display the most recent posts from my blog. Note: it didn’t work in my Safari browser, but it did in Firefox and IE. Hopefully either the WordPress gang or LinkedIn are listening like Yammer and will figure out and fix the Safari problem.

Here’s what it looks like when you add the WordPress application:

All you do is paste in your URL, and hit “Save”

And the widget (which you can drag toward the top of your LinkedIn profile) looks like what you see above. Another great reason to have a WordPress blog, huh?

I think this is a huge development. My friend Jeremiah thinks it could mean the end of the intranet.

It’s important because by opening the platform as Facebook did, LinkedIn is saying “we don’t have all the smartest programmers in the world, and we sure can’t afford to pay them. So we will provide an opportunity for others to enhance the usefulness of our site, and connect their sites and services to ours.”

Jeremiah’s point is similar: many (if not most) corporate intranets are missing the consumer-grade social networking features users have come to expect on the Internet. (Isn’t it funny that consumer-grade means higher quality on the Internet, while “business” or “professional” grade is clunkier? But that’s a topic for another post.)

Especially in today’s economic climate, corporate IT departments aren’t going to be able to afford hiring enough programmers to recreate that same level of social networking funtionality (or to put it another way, to “reinvent the wheel.”)

Open source (like WordPress) and Software as a Service (Saas – like Yammer or Salesforce.com) solutions will be smart ways for organizations to get world-class user experience for employees at significantly lower costs.

If someone else has already developed and polished a fantastic user experience, and if you can get it for free or at an extremely reasonable cost, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? Why not deploy your programmers to create the links and safeguards that tie these world-class applications together?

Jeremiah thinks his yet-to-be-born kids won’t have any concept of a corporate intranet. I’m not so sure about that, but I’m casting my vote with him. He’s a Forrester analyst, after all. (You can cast YOUR vote below!)

But certainly there are some data elements and resources that your corporate IT department is currently paying boatloads to store and back up, that you could instead have outside your firewall. My blog, for example, is out on the Internet for all to see anyway. And Flickr photo streams or other resources could be “cloudsourced,” which would have the benefit of creating more links to your corporate or professional sites.

The LinkedIn announcement suggests that it could be the major hub for integrating this information. And as more applications are developed and security is proven (and as the economic climate puts more pressure on corporate IT to deliver more services for less), even more highly confidential data could be integrated in a hub like LinkedIn.

What do you think? Is Jeremiah right? (No, not Jeremiah Wright…that’s again another topic.)

Cast your vote below, and add your thoughts about this topic in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=1055581]

Yammer 104: Yammer as GTD General Reference File

In this post I wrote about how a blog can be the ultimate personal electronic “general reference” filing system that is consistent with David Allen’s Getting Things Done, or GTD, approach to life organization.

I still think a blog can be useful for general reference. I often use the SMUG blog in that way. I vaguely remember that I’ve written about something here, and use the search box at right to find the information, often including links to relevant external Web sites.

But that post was written in the pre-Twitter, pre-Yammer era. I think these micro-blogging tools can be even better for this general reference function than a full-blown blog is.

Continue reading “Yammer 104: Yammer as GTD General Reference File”