Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think – LinkedIn’s group policy

I created a group on LinkedIn called “Give Us More Groups.” What’s ironic? Well, I had to leave a group to create the group. Also, so have all or most of the members.

What else? LinkedIn sent me group alert.

LI group alert

Really? There are a TON of groups I would LOVE to join.

Why? Am I a spammer?

Apparently, as long as I blog there are certain people who think so. (Or rather there is one individual who is speaking for some unidentified population of people he assumes shares his opinion.) Apparently there are some (or at least one) who feels that blogging and “serial” sharing has “absolutely zero engagement,” and, therefore, is as good as spam. I wonder, though how they (he) keep up with emerging trends in their (his) industry? I wonder how they (he) decide which services and products to trust.

A different individual had shared concerns about using LinkedIn groups for spamming – a legitimate concern. He felt that anything you would want to do professionally with in the acceptable terms of LinkedIn could be done with 50 groups, to which I replied:

I think you’ll agree that our professions require us to be very dynamic in order to be effective. We should be immersed in marketing groups, business development groups, social media groups, various industry groups, unemployment groups, recruiting groups, human resources groups, and on and on. You must be aware of just how many job groups there are alone! (35,638) I don’t think we should join all of them. Actually, I share your point-of-view about having quality interactions versus harvesting contact information. I even have a vlog about it: http://bit.ly/chavlog2 – Why not to accept LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know.

I cannot speak for the people who have spoken to you about their intent to “harvest” more connections, but doing so seems to be explicitly written into the purposes of LinkedIn: to “meet, exchange ideas, learn, make deals, find opportunities or employees, work, and make decisions in a network of trusted relationships and groups.” A lot of people misunderstand my intent with my vlog; they think I only want to connect with people I already know. That is NOT the intention of LinkedIn. I want to know my connections AND invest time in getting to know new people BEFORE they join my network. I think what you are concerned about is that people will skip the critical step of building relationships with people they add to their network or that they will simply add these contacts to some large SPAM database, which would go against social networking, networking, and business development best practices.

Furthermore, if part of the mission of LinkedIn is to learn, it can also be understood that part of the mission is to teach. Rarely do I promote a product or service on LinkedIn, and when I do I use the appropriate channels. I very often, however, use it to disseminate news, advice and FREE resources to my target audience. Even this is not welcome in some groups, and I respect that.

The whole reason LinkedIn has an interest section is so that people can find common ground, an impetus for building rapport. That is why there are groups related to personal interests and professional interests alike. Once you have something personal to share, creating professional synergy is that much easier.

My life is as diverse as my profession. I want to engage with professionals who are also musicians, like me. I want to share my passion for my sports teams with other people on LinkedIn. I want to learn tips from other work-at-home parents. I need to connect with other real estate stakeholders to get deals done. I want to know what mistakes people are making in their investments that can save me from losing my shirt. I want to be able to be a part of local political issues. I’d like to know what other people who are trying gluten-free diets are craving, and how they overcome it.

There was more, about how LinkedIn groups could really help me facilitate enrichment exchanges with diverse groups. This is something I see Google+ doing better than LinkedIn, and could be a reason people turn to it rather than LinkedIn. For us as users, there is no problem in using various social media for different purposes, as long as our desired communities adopt the same social media. However, for any social media platform, you have to know your audience and capture as much of their time as possible for growth stability. This is where I think LinkedIn is failing. In many ways, they have hit a peak and are leaving plenty of room for a new, better, more powerful platform to emerge and take over as the professional social media of choice.

What do you think? Do you think that my intended purpose oversteps LinkedIn’s stated mission? “To connect the world’s professionals to enable them to be more productive and successful….we make services available…to help you, your connections, and millions of other professionals meet, exchange ideas, learn, make deals, find opportunities or employees, work, and make decisions in a network of trusted relationships and groups.”

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