Wondering Out Loud

A short rant about LinkedIn discussion

I just joined a LinkedIn group. It was recommended by a colleague. My first stop, as always, was the Discussions page.

Guess what I found. C’mon, give it a try.

Ok, I’ll tell you. I found 5 featured discussions – the ones with the gold-headed pins in them – and every one of them was put there by the group owner. Now, if that doesn’t seem strange, and perhaps it’s not, this might do the trick…

…The most recent discussion was posted 29 days ago. The others are 9 months, 9 months, 8 months and 3 months old. Here’s the best part, though: there are exactly 2, count ’em 2 comments among the 5 “discussions”. That is an average of .4 comments per discussion.

LinkedIn groups have a hard enough time surviving. What starts as a forum for peers to collaborate and share best practices too often turns into an unpaid ad for the latest webcast, or place to throw a link to your recent blog post and fish for comments. The groups are becoming self promoting (where did I hear that before?), and now at least one group owner is driving the self promotion bus. Unless we use these groups for their intended purposes – see the first sentence of this paragraph – they will die, and one of LinkeIn’s most wonderful assets will be no more. 

If you joined LinkedIn to take you on an ego trip, please be up front about it. It’ll save the rest of us who actually want to use it a lot of time and headaches.


October 1, 2009 - Posted by | Social Media |


  1. Mark,

    I share your concerns, but have decided to see if this phase will pass. That doesn’t mean I’m not trying to counter the trend in my own way.

    To help bring the discussion back to the forum, I post my comments in the forum first and then decide whether I also want to post them on the blog. And, when I post something from my blog, I try to include the text from my blog in the discussion so visiting my blog is optional. That “etiquette” made sense to me, but maybe you and I are being too sensitive.

    I do have one issue with a change that LinkedIn made. (probably to counter the above issue) If you click the link to the blog, it now opens the blog inside a LinkedIn page. The url is now a LinkedIn discussion group url so it makes it harder to Tweet the post. I beg fellow-bloggers to help me help you. Put a “Tweet This” or some similar button on your blog so I can respond in LinkedIn and help spread the word.

    Congrats on your new job too, Mark. All the best!


    Comment by Melissa Paulik | October 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. I completely agree as well, but this is the nature of 6 billion potential people doing their own thing. Fragmentation is part of the social web, smaller and smaller groups.

    This is why I believe there should be great merit and “google juice” perhaps a commenters index and influence.

    Comment by Albert Maruggi | October 16, 2009 | Reply

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