Chatter is a great tool, and if you use Salesforce, you should be using it, and using it every day – many times a day. Chatter is great for “working out loud” and keeping others in your team up to date with what you are doing.
There is a lot of help out there about how to use chatter, including the Chatter Best Practices page on the Salesforce website and this excellent series of 9 chatter training videos created by Engineers Australia for their Chatter implementation. They may be a bit specific to just engineers and just the stand-alone chatter app, but they are very well done.
One thing I could not find enough information on is Notifications, so here is my explanation of notifications. (Well, it started out as being only about notifications, but it may now include a bit more information also).
Chatter, like most social networks, can be Push or Pull – eg you can “pull” the information towards you by going to look at your chatter feeds, or have chatter “push” the information out to you, via notifications.
There are different forms of push notifications.
- Email – set all the emails you want to receive in Chatter Email Settings in your Setup Menu in Salesforce.
- The Chatter desktop app – download it onto your PC or mac. Go to settings to set notifications to Pop up, show focus on the app. On a mac you can have the app bounce in the dock or come to the front. You can’t have sound for chatter feed notifications, only chat notifications – confusing, isn’t it.
- The Chatter iOS app or Android app. Set the app to provide sound or visual notifications. in Android you can have a sound, vibration and LED flash notification. In iOS you can have sound, badge, banner and alerts – via the notifications centre.
You will receive push notifications for:
- A post to a public group that you follow:
- Email: if you have turned on immediate notifications for that group (as opposed to a daily or weekly digest).
- Mobile: No push notification, but it will be in your feed next time you refresh it.
- A post on your “wall” – someone has gone to your profile, and made a post there.
- Email: if they have Posts on my profile email notification turned on.
- Desktop: No sound, no bounce, no visual notification until I went to the mentions, which refreshed the app – something is not right here.
- Android: Sound, vibration, and notification in the notification tray, if they have been set up.
- iOS: Notification in the notification centre, and badge, and sound (unless you are on DND). If you are in the app, it is just a circle on the @ symbol.
- Mentions you in an @ reply (this should be the same as posts on your wall).
- Yep, the same, However, I did get the bounce, the popup notification on the desktop app. This is weird. It should behave the same as writing on your wall. But it is good, that you can have your notifications appear so forcefully.
Push notifications do take a few minutes to pop up on your destktop app. I tend to get emails immediately, desktop notifications a few minutes later, then android notifications a few minutes after that. Desktop is a bit all over the place.
Pull – Feeds
Feeds are seen by “pulling” the information to you. There are a few types of feeds – Choose which feed you want to look at to see how much or how little you want:
- What I follow – people and records you follow.
- To Me – posts to me. (if I comment on a post that I made, that post will appear in here – a bit weird).
- Bookmarked – posts I have bookmarked – useful as a todo list.
- All company – all posts by all chatter users in the company, even if you don’t follow them. Including posts on records – this can become very busy. The All Company feed is not on iOS, or Desktop but is available on Android – this is weird.
Note, no posts in the feed will display automatically. You have to either:
- Refresh the page in the desktop app.
- Focus to the desktop app (it appears automatically then).
- Pull down on the feed in the iOS app to refresh.
- Click the refresh icon in the Anroid app.
You will see posts in the All Company feed if they are:
- Added to public groups that you don’t follow.
- Added to the general feed by people you don’t follow – You can also see these by looking at their profile. This is exactly the same as not following someone on twitter, but you can still see their posts on their twitter profile.
You won’t ever see posts that are:
- Added to records that you can’t see.
- Added to private groups that you are not a member of.
See a basic overview of chatter post security, and a quite in-depth look at chatter security, especially for groups.
Searches and Topics
Searches and topics (aka hashtags) are extremely powerful. Search for a topic, save it as a favourite, then you can return to them at any time. Favourites are not available in iOS or Android or on the desktop app.
You need to go to favourites to see posts that contain a search term or topic that is saved as a favourite, or just click on a topic hyperlink to search for all posts with that topic, or search for a word, phrase or topic in the search bar (and choose to search in the feed).
Chat is part of chatter but is different than chatter – chat is your regular one to one instant messaging kind of chat. To initiate a chat with someone, go to their chatter profile, if they are logged in at the moment, their chat icon will have a small green circle (presence indicator). Click on start chat, then type what you want.
- They will get a notification in the bottom right hand side of their salesforce window, showing a red chat bubble.
- If they have turned on sound and / or pop to the front in the desktop app, they will be notified there. A completely new window will open containing the chat.
- In Firefox, the browser tab will flash and the word *NEW* will appear in the browser title. I have seen this happen on Chrome, but I could not get it to work just now.
- You don’t get the chat feature in the iOS or Android chatter apps, but you can use Chat in the desktop app.
So basically, chats can be bloody annoying, just as they are in any other app.
The last feature of Chatter is private messages – just like DM’s on twitter. They are one on one, like chat, but asynchronous, so the person can just get back to you when they can – so therefore they are not as annoying as chat messages.
To send a message, go to the chatter profile as the person and click Send a Message. Type the subject and the message and click Send. (or from your chatter page, click Messages, click New Message, type their name in the To box, type the message, click Send).
- They will get an email notification (if they have email notifications for messages turned on).
- If they click on their chatter page they will see a number in a blue square next to the messages. Note, however, that they will not see this until AFTER they have refreshed the page. The notification won’t go away until you go into the message and click on it – so that is one positive.
- Messages appear in the Desktop app but there is only a small green circle over the message icon, and they don’t appear until you do something in the app. And one message did not show up at all, even until I went into the message itself. Very dangerous.
- Messages don’t appear in iOS or Android at all.
So, not sure if there is any advantage in sending messages over sending emails. Actually I think it is quite dangerous, as you can’t be guaranteed they will see it if they have message notifications turned off.
Have I missed anything? I’m sure I have. I probably have not focused on records enough, and I have not covered chatter external users. Add a note to the comments if you see any more weird behaviour with Chatter notifications, or want to add anything to this post.