When Googling isn’t Good Enough

Google and other search engines have indisputably made our lives richer and easier, which is why Googling has become a verb (Microsoft could have chosen a better name for its search service, because Binging just doesn’t sound right.) Type in a phrase, find the information you need. Simple. Fast.

But what if the answer to your question doesn’t show up on the first page of search engine results?

That’s where the power of social networks can help. Real people helping you in real time.

I had such an experience earlier this week, when I noticed that the Calendar app on my iPhone was no longer there. I must have inadvertently deleted it. I went to iTunes and looked for it to reinstall, and couldn’t find it. I went to the iTunes store and searched for Calendar and got the opportunity to buy some other apps, but couldn’t get the one that came with my phone.

So then I searched on Google to no avail, or at least not quick enough avail to provide the instant gratification to which I (and I’ll bet most of you) have become accustomed. I clicked through a few of the search results and got nothing that told me what I needed to do.

So I went to Yammer.

Yammer is an internal social network limited to people who share your email domain. In my case, at Mayo Clinic, it’s a network of everyone with email addresses ending in mayo.edu.

So I went to the iPhone User Group in our Yammer network and posed the question. Here’s the whole conversation:

Start to finish, I got the answer in two minutes! And yes, it worked perfectly.

OK…so Jamie used Google to find the answer. Maybe he’s just better at phrasing his queries, and there is nothing wrong with Google.

But my point still holds: a social network can connect you with people who can help you find your answers.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Yammer curriculum section on SMUG.

Yammer 111: Twitter-Yammer Integration with #yam

Thanks to @tomburket for the heads up this morning on this new Yammer feature, as described in the Yammer blog:

You can now import your Twitter updates into Yammer, using the #yam tag. After linking your Yammer and Twitter accounts, any tweet (message posted to Twitter) that contains the #yam tag will be automatically imported into your Yammer network.

The Yammer blog gives instructions for how to do this. It’s really simple. Tom got the tip about the new feature, which was announced yesterday, from @steverubel.

Initial thoughts:

This was really easy. I got the direct message from Tom about this on Twitter at 7, checked it out a couple of minutes later and adjusted my Yammer account settings. Then I sent a test #yam tweet at 7:08.

It works well. My test #yam tweet showed up in my Yammer feed at 7:09. Here it is (click to enlarge):


This will be good for Yammer. It makes it much more likely that #yam will be a trending topic in Twitter search, at least as people test it, which will increase Yammer’s visibility in the Twittersphere.

It may also be a practical way to ensure that messages you are sending outside your company are also communicated to work colleagues. For example, there may be things I tweet about that don’t interest my team members at work. Hard to imagine, I know. But if they follow me on Yammer, and if I tag posts with the #yam tag if I want to be sure they get them, I can share both externally to the world and specifically to teammates…without having to go to Yammer and send a separate message. It could increase the signal-to-noise ratio for my colleagues, while also making it simpler for me to share information.


  1. Join Yammer if you haven’t. (See Yammer 101)
  2. Adjust your Yammer account settings to add your Twitter account name. (You do have a Twitter account, right? If not, check out Twitter 102)
  3. After you’ve completed the first two steps (and any necessary remedial studies!), send a tweet with the #yam tag (in Twitter) and watch it show up in your Yammer feed.
  4. Share your thoughts about this new Yammer feature in the comments below.

Facebook 201: Secret Groups as Your Free Small Business Intranet

I have a friend who has become seriously SMUG and wants to use Facebook and other social media tools in her home-based marketing business. She has an organization involved in selling stuff, and wants to be able to communicate with people in her marketing network, which is widely dispersed geographically.

In essence, she would like to create an intranet without the corporate firewall.

If her team members all had a company email address (e.g. personname@companyname.com), Yammer would be a great solution, and you can read all about it in the Yammer curriculum here at SMUG.

But that’s not the case in many small or home-based businesses, nor is it for my friend.

Let’s call her “Terri” (since that’s her name). One of “Terri’s” concerns is that when she does business-oriented work on Facebook, the things she posts get all mixed in with her personal Facebook feed. And while her business activities may not be super secret, she would like to keep personal and work activities somewhat segregated.

A Secret Group in Facebook can be a good answer in this case.

To use this, though, everyone in your group needs to be a Facebook “friend” — at least until you have invited them into your secret group, although there is a workaround, as I will explain below.

Here are the three steps to creating your free small business intranet, assuming you have already created your Facebook account. (You have done that, haven’t you?)

Continue reading “Facebook 201: Secret Groups as Your Free Small Business Intranet”

Florida Hospital Association SMUG Extension Course

I’m delighted to be in Orlando today for a SMUG extension class, presenting a workshop for the Florida Hospital Association’s Florida Society for Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing (FSHPRM) at their Winter professional development workshop. My presentation runs from 12:30-2 EST.

The slides I’m using are embedded below. I’m told there will be wifi in the room, so I’m hoping many of the participants can take the opportunity to add their comments and questions even during the presentation, either in the comment section on this post or by tweeting using the #fhasmug hashtag.

We’ll see if we can address some of the questions and comments at the end of the presentation, but if any SMUGgles are following along remotely and want to chime in with your observations, you’re most welcome to participate.

A Few Resource Links:


Understanding that we likely have a wide range of social media familiarity among the workshop participants, I’ve outlined some options for your concrete action steps to make your the learning practical for you. I’m starting with basics and moving to more complicated or involved steps. Just go down the list and pick at least one thing you haven’t yet tried.

  1. Join Facebook. Facebook 102 would be a great place to start. You can request to join the FSHPRM group so you can all network and learn together. And of course I hope you’ll join the SMUG group, too.
  2. Get a Twitter account. Twitter 102 will take you through the process step-by-step. I have a bunch of courses yet to be added in the Twitter curriculum, but there are a few there to get you started, and you can follow me (@LeeAase) and/or @SMUG_U to keep up to date.
  3. Start a personal blog. Blogging 108 gives you the guidance you need.
  4. Try Yammer. Yammer is like Twitter for the workplace, and is limited to people who share your email domain. The Yammer curriculum has more background, but Yammer 101 gets you started.

If you’re one of those really risk-averse types who needs to completely scope out a situation before joining, you have two additional options:

  1. Begin the Core Courses, which are kind of the SMUG appetizer sampler platter. They’ll give you a hands-on taste of social media. Or, you can…
  2. Start the Podcasting curriculum, which takes you in 10 steps from an introduction to the podcast to having your own personal podcast listed in the iTunes store, all without spending any money. You can complete the first two courses without having to take any concrete action.

Finally, I hope you’ll enroll in SMUG so you can continue your social media exploration as a SMUGgle.

And if you’re on LinkedIn and would like to connect in that way (or perhaps leave a recommendation for me), that would be great, too. Here’s my public profile on LinkedIn.

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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