Siri at Work: Update Yammer on the Fly


The term “game changer” is thrown around far too often. (I am as guilty as the next blogger.) But the fact of the matter is, for those of us who are using Siri seriously, it really is a game changer. In this post I want to take a quick look at one of the many ways that Siri is transforming what I do and making it easier and more efficient than ever.

A bit of background first. In my congregation I have the privilege of working with three other members of our clergy team. In addition, I have a full-time assistant who, quite frankly, is my brain. For the longest time she would be the repository for any and all information on pastoral issues in our community. She did a great job but this often resulted in everyone not knowing everything that was happening which, if you try to take a team approach, is problematic. For example, I would email her and CC one of my colleagues but forget to cc the other two. Because we all are moving in different directions at any given time, at times, this resulted in things falling through the cracks. Never acceptable.

The solution to this came about a year and a half ago and it arrived in two forms– Evernote and Yammer.

Evernote is used to keep track of issues over the long haul so that we always have the opportunity to go back and see what was going on at any point. Because it is fully searchable we are able to go to the account (shared by the five of us), put in a search word or two and pull up whatever information we want quickly. It was the first system we put into place and while it was helpful it didn’t really solve the communication issues that crept in once in a while.

That’s where it Yammer came in. I’m familiar with Yammer because we use it here at Gear Diary. As I was searching for a solution, it occurred to me that it would be a good addition to what we do at my synagogue. We reached out to the company and they were fantastic about making arrangements for us to use the system as a nonprofit organization. Our Yammer “network” includes the four clergy and my assistant. That’s it. No one else gets to see the communications. Of course there are things shared with any one of us that don’t even go there, but in general most issues don’t rise to that level of confidentiality.

The idea behind Yammer is that when any one of us here’s something we immediately put it into Yammer, and everyone else can see it as well. The result is fewer and fewer communication glitches.

So what role does Siri play in all of this?

In the past I would make a hospital visit, and then I would have to sit down and type out who I visited and what I wanted to remember or share from the visit. Now, as I’m walking to my car, I’m able to pull up Yammer, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard, and speak slowly and clearly about who I saw and what went on. The amazing thing is that, now that my contacts are relatively clean, Siri seems to get the names of the people I visit perfectly each and every time. That ease of updating Yammer makes it more likely that I will give all of the relevant details, and we’ll do it in the most timely way possible. Does it create an opportunity that didn’t exist previously? No. But it does make it faster, easier, and much clearer.


(The more I use Siri, the more I’m discovering the ways in which I can speak to get closer and closer to 100% accuracy. It is how I wrote this post.)

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.