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Yammer Gets an Update

Michelle McCudden is a Client Engagement Director on the Client Strategy & Innovation team at Social Media Group. Follow @mmccudden1

First, Yammer was bought by Microsoft for $1.2 billion.Just yesterday, it was announced that Yammer will integrate with HootSuite and other third-party apps, as well as roll out a new instant messaging feature similar to Google Talk. I’m interested in these stories, as Yammer is SMG’s inter-office network of choice, but I find myself most intrigued by its move into employee emotion analysis.

Yammer has partnered with Kanjoya to develop a product called Crane which analyzes Yammer messages for sentiment and reports “trending emotions” back to managers. I’ve long been skeptical of automated tools that claim to measure sentiment, as my research experience has shown time and again how challenging it can be for humans to consistently and accurately evaluate language, much less an automated program, which tends to struggle with concepts like irony and sarcasm. Crane bills itself as “different,” analyzing “with emotion first as opposed to simple positive, negative and neutral classification.”

Do you think Crane will actually be an asset to managers or just another dashboard to check? Will employees really post negative comments on Yammer or is that a career-limiting move?