All you need to know about LinkedIn’s latest attempt to become a more social.
LinkedIn has rolled out a series of changes to its Groups. As with the introduction of LinkedIn posts (the professional social network’s blogging platform), the changes are a move to make LinkedIn much more social.
Groups were the original social element on LinkedIn, a place where people with shared interests could discuss them, but their success has been mixed. Some Groups contain vibrant discussion. Many, however, are ghost towns. Even in the most active groups, a tiny minority maintain the conversation, while the majority sit silently on the sidelines.
Many of the changes seek to mimic real world networks. Let’s look at what’s changed and what that means.
All groups are now private groups. You can only read the conversations within a Group if you’re a member. The idea is that members will feel more at ease, knowing what they say can’t be overhead.
Members can approve new members. Know someone in the club? Then you don’t need to wait for a moderator to approve your entry into a Group. This move helps to clear up an important bottleneck.
Pre-moderation is gone. Group members can post what they want and it’ll appear immediately. This clears another bottleneck to free flowing conversation. However, it does open the door to a flood of promotional posts. LinkedIn say any negative effects will be mitigated because they’ve introduced better content filtering. Only time will tell on that front. In the meantime, community managers will need to monitor their groups much more closely.
These changes are supported by a range of design tweaks to the look and feel of Groups, aligning their design to the wider redesign of other parts of LinkedIn. You can also add images to comments – a long overdue addition.
Group managers will have mixed feelings about these changes. In particular, those seeking to operate closed networks on LinkedIn have lost the ability to control Groups as tightly as they might like. Managers will also need to spend more time actively managing Groups. This is good news for LinkedIn, but not so much for time-constrained Group managers.
The cumulative effect of all these changes should make LinkedIn much more social. However, these are structural changes so don’t expect the ghost towns to suddenly come to life.