Group Collaboration – Step 1 Conversation

The internet has allowed for user groups, colleagues and new partnerships to form without the necessity of face to face time. How do we stay in synch on a project if we’re not working down the hall from each other? There are some great options available for online collaboration of work teams and projects.

Of the paid solutions one of the most popular seems to be Basecamp by 37 signals. While I enjoy this product – there are so many other free solutions available they definitely need to be considered when evaluating a collaboration tool or platform that’s right for your project or business.

To keep the conversation flowing two great tools are Yammer and the WordPress P2 Theme. Think of Yammer as a hosted solution and WordPress P2 Theme as your own white label, self hosted solution.

Yammer is a tool for making companies and organizations more productive through the exchange of short frequent answers to one simple question: ‘What are you working on?’

As employees answer that question, a feed is created in one central location enabling co-workers to discuss ideas, post news, ask questions, and share links and other information. Yammer also serves as a company directory in which every employee has a profile and as a knowledge base where past conversations can be easily accessed and referenced.

Anyone in a company can start their Yammer network and begin inviting colleagues. The privacy of each network is ensured by limiting access to those with a valid company email address. Information is never shared with third parties.

The advantages are that the basic Yammer service is free and it’s a hosted solution so updates and upkeep is performed by Yammer. The disadvantage is that to become an administrator or have control over the group or information companies need to pay to claim and administer their networks.

The WordPress P2 Theme would be installed on your own site. Access can be controlled by modifying your privacy and user settings. The advantages are that as it’s on your system you’re in total control and can truly customize this installation. The disadvantages would be that you need to purchase or own your url and pay for hosting fees.


screenshot PS Theme is a “group blog theme for short update messages, inspired by Twitter. Featuring: Hassle-free posting from the front page. Perfect for group blogging, or as a liveblog theme. Dynamic page updates. Threaded comment display on the front page. In-line editing for posts and comments. Live tag suggestion based on previously used tags. A show/hide feature for comments, to keep things tidy. Real-time notifications when a new comment or update is posted. Super-handy keyboard shortcuts. Helvetica Neue for you modern font lovers. And more to come…”

Together these two both offer a great solution to keeping the conversation flowing when working together. How do you keep in touch with your work team?

One Comment

  1. great writeup!
    and I totally agree – we use a similar tool called We use it at our workplace as the enterprise microblogging tool – working out well so far.

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