The Social Spark: Instant Messaging

Christian Buckley

Christian is a 7-time Office Servers and Services MVP, internationally-recognized technology evangelist and collaboration expert, and the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • I think that what Yammer/Twitter don’t fit for is privacy and ephemerality, and that there’s a backlash against open noisy streams (eg with Snapchat or Secret). We find that people would *rather* work in enclosed groups, rather than an open stream, because it feels right.
    I’m a co-founder at Unison ( which makes software for group and 1:1 messaging. One area I definitely agree on is the attachment to short-form text. We’re experimenting with some alternatives though, like ‘stickers’ and video messages, and are getting a positive response.

  • I agree with Twitter, but Yammer does allow a couple levels of privacy — limiting who has access to a network, and who has access to a private group. But I do believe that an even deeper tie to structured collaboration is essential, allowing a team within a platform like SharePoint to have detailed conversations within a sub-site of a team site, which may be in a very locked-down, secure area within their intranet, with all of the security-trimming, retention, and compliance rules in place.
    I don’t agree that people want to work exclusively in enclosed groups, however. And Twitter or Snapchat are a false argument, as they are not enterprise solutions but were designed to be public platforms. Within the enterprise, there need to be both secure, private collaboration options, as well as broad, company-wide social collaboration capabilities. Employees then need to be trained on which to use, and when. More options is always a good thing.