Consistency of feature terminology across Teams and Yammer

Frequent Contributor

Yammer is no longer the only enterprise tool in the MS suite that's similar to how we converse in consumer tools like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc...


Now we have MS Teams...and now that means clients we consult with are asking about the differences, etc...the inner and outer loop approach helps.


One of my concerns now is that newbies have to learn different terminology for similar functions across both tools.


I've made a quick list below, please add more if I've missed anything...



  • In Yammer joining a group adds it to your group list

  • In Teams joining a team adds it to your favourites list (basically the same exact thing as the group list on Yammer)

Note: Teams has an extra function where you can unfavourite a team or a channel from the favourites list (which puts it into a collapsed more list)




  • In Teams when there's new activity in a channel you have favourited (and not necessarily followed) it bolds the channel name and marks it with a number

  • In Yammer when there's new activity in a group it marks the group name with a number



  • In Teams if you follow a channel it will send notifications for all new messages as pop-ups (you can switch this off), and also displays news messages in your activity feed

  • In Yammer (mobile only) you can push notifications on a group to be notified of all new messages as pop-ups (you can switch this off), and also displays new messages in your inbox


Note: If I don't follow a channel in Teams, I will only get notifications in my Activity feed if I'm: mentioned, replies to my posts, replies to my replies.

If I don't check push notifications on a group in Yammer, I will only get notifications in my Yammer Inbox if I'm: mentioned, replies to my posts, replies to my replies...and also posts I have manually followed to inbox



Given these are both Microsoft products it would be good to see some consistency with the names of features...this would help user adoption, as understanding one system would give you a headstart in understanding the other system


But this isn't the case...



  • In Yammer the term "follow" refers to adding people to your feed. It's also often said we follow groups in yammer, but the actual terminology is joining groups...the reason being is that when we join a group, we see posts from that group in the "following" feed

  • Whereas in Teams the term "follow" refers to more immediate notifications that deposit messages in your activity feed, and also with pop-up notification availability . Whereas in Yammer this is referred to as "push notifications", and is only available on mobile at the moment.

Note: Yammer also have a feature called "Follow in Inbox", where you can manually set a notification to get new replies from a post (even if you have not taken part in the conversation of that post) can also unfollow at anytime. So basically the notification feature is called "push" when it's for every post from a group going to your inbox, but it's called "follow" when it's for just a post of your choosing from any group



  • What Yammer calls "Inbox", Teams calls "Activity" feed combined with "My Activity"

  • What Yammer calls "Following" feed, Teams calls "Team activity" (all messages from Teams you follow  ...teams that you favourite but don't follow are not included)
4 Replies
You're right - it would be good to see some consistency but while they are both Microsoft, they are separate teams within the Office Division and have different ideologies about their products, how they work, and what terms should be used.
It is frustrating for end user yes. No good answer here sorry.
cheers certainly wouldn't be easy writing a glossary of terms spanning the workloads eg. here follow means this, there it means that, and then over there it means this

Great points although I think it goes further than just Teams and Yammer. Lots of terminology around O365 Groups/Teams follows inconsistent patterns which causes a lot of confusion to end users. A key one is that if an employee creates a Team, they start seeing 'group' in various places such as SharePoint and Outlook. SharePoint Team sites also cause some confusion with staff thinking they are connected in some way.

I've heard this point consistently since the first version of SharePoint Portal and STS back in 2001 ... two teams not really talking to each other ... bump into each other in the corridor and hey we are both doing something similar - lets err ... collaborate.  Sigh ...


Garry @ Selfridges