The Low Down on the Changes Coming to LinkedIn GroupsLinkedIn is making major changes to LinkedIn Groups. The notice arrived a few days ago.
These changes mean different things to different people. In this post, I will detail how these changes affect regular Group members and current Open & Member’s Only Group administrators.
Regular Group Members
If you are a typical Group Member, the changes to Groups will affect you in a number of ways:
- It’s harder to find Groups to join since some Groups will be unlisted and won’t turn up in searches.
- You will most likely receive an avalanche of invitations to join unlisted groups
- Because group conversations won’t show up in search engine results AND conversations and comments are visible to group members only, you may feel more open to participating in this more intimate and close setting.
- People won’t post spammy links or try to obnoxiously sell their wares within Group discussions…. (or NOT! I know this is what LinkedIn is intending but it’s just so unlikely regardless of their safeguards)
- Groups will get much more visually pleasing now that you can post images to any new conversations.
- It will be easier to pull people into Group conversations since you can mention Group members by name within posts which will notify them so they can join the conversation.
- Subgroups are being spun into their own Group. You may now join an additional 50 groups!
- LinkedIn Groups now has a mobile app. You can now follow discussions from your iPhone. Android user? The Android version isn’t available yet.
- You won’t be besieged by Group emails anymore. LinkedIn has created a digest of the most popular and recent conversations so you can follow the most interesting threads.
- Rather than having to swim through all the discussions per Group, LinkedIn is providing a Groups Highlights section to show you a snapshot of the interesting and important conversations taking place in the Groups you follow.
Group Admin of a Standard (formerly Open) Group
As the admin of formerly Open Group, your Group discussions could be seen on the web and shared on other social networking platforms. You had quite a bit of control over who joined and what posts got published. Here’s what you can expect with the new changes:
- Because members can invite their first degree network to join your Group, you may get more people joining! YAY!
- Because Group members can approve requests to join, you may find yourself with a lot more time on your hands not having to do deal with this task OR having to constantly look over the Group membership to boot out people that either shouldn’t belong or are allowing riff raff in.
- Conversations won’t be public and are no longer searchable… which means more people may post and comment since they feel safer. On the other hand, you will get far less eyes on the discussions than before since only conversations and comments are visible to group members.
- Group conversations will be posted instantly to a group. This could mean that topics occur in a more timely fashion along with high engagement… or it may mean constantly checking your Group to make sure people are behaving and not posting inappropriate content.
- If your group had Subgroups… they are now no longer considered subgroups but regular, independent groups. You will most likely want to rename your subgroup and include links to your old subgroups in the About page of the old main group.
Group Admin of an Unlisted (formerly Member’s Only) Group
As the admin of a Member’s Only Group, group discussions were private and people could find your group within Group Search but you had control over who you let in. Here’s how the changes will affect your group:
- Your Group will not show up in search results and so you will only be able to grow your group by inviting people personally.
- Members of a group cannot display the group on their profile, to members who don’t belong to that group… so fewer people will be able to find out about it.
- You may find that by remaining unlisted, people may not realize your group exists and someone will create a new, standard group on your group’s topic, providing you with some healthy competition.
- Group conversations will be posted instantly to a group. This could mean that topics occur in a more timely fashion along with high engagement… or it may mean finding yourself constantly checking your Group to make sure people are behaving and not posting inappropriate content. (This is the same as a Standard Group)
My Thoughts on the New LinkedIn Groups
As an admin of a Member’s Only Group– I will admit, I am NOT looking forward to these changes. I want my Group to turn up in search results BUT I want control over who may join. I think it’s great that Standard Groups allow members to invite their first degree connections to join the Group. However, I don’t like that any member can approve membership. I also am absolutely fearful over the immediate posting of discussions. Does this mean I am going to constantly be on the look out for inappropriate conversations? Yes, members can take down discussions but will they take on a true administrative function like removing off topic posts? I doubt it.
There has been an issue with Groups for quite some time. Spam was rampant and discussions seemed more self serving than engaging. These changes are aimed at fixing these issues but will it produce other issues? Only time will tell.
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