With more than 2 million groups active on LinkedIn, it’s one of the more successful features on the social site.
But recent participation levels are not what they used to be, and as users find ways to manipulate the site for marketing and monetizing opportunities, the company has announced it is going to overhaul LinkedIn Groups.
The most dramatic change is the privatization of Groups. From now on, the content within Groups will not be indexed by search engines. And gaining access will require a vetting process by the group creator, so no more access without permission.
The explanation for the update was given to Venturebeat by Minal Mehta, LinkedIn’s product lead for Groups, “The world has changed. The way people converse has changed. How do we take the opportunity to make the product the best it can be based on where the world is today?”
And as the world continues to value privacy even more, LinkedIn has taken that cue and made it available to its members.
In addition to the overhaul, a standalone Groups iOS app will be released. The concept of privacy continues to the mobile app also, with a learning algorithm that only shows you content geared to your interest. This means no more spams that target users.
When you open the app, it shows you discussions from the group or groups you belong to and finds interesting subjects by highlighting them. If it is being discussed in more than one group, the highlight will appear once. New highlights will appear each day, and if you choose to participate you can do it from the app on the phone.
The algorithm is used yet again so you can find groups and people based on past memberships, skill sets, industry experience and other conditions. Based on these criterion, the app shows you a recommendation, but this is as far as it goes with the iOS, because you can’t search for groups beyond what the algorithm has recommended.
Additional features include:
- The delivery of fewer emails by condensing the content from all your groups for daily or weekly distribution,
- A special tab specifically created for discussing employment opportunities within groups,
- An easier way to invite anyone from a standard group, and
- A cleaner mobile and app interface.
The new LinkedIn Groups features will be available on the Web and on iOS devices, with an Android version coming sometime in the future.
Image: LinkedIn, Small Business Trends
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This is a good change. Back when they made groups “open” by default it led to tons of spam users. I run a group with a few thousand people and I kept the approval process in place so I could vet the people requesting to join. It isn’t much, but it helps a lot.
I think your case exemplifies why LinkedIn has decided to give group creators more control.
I always dislike the spam, and all of the people selling stuff on the different groups. However, the new changes are not positive for people looking to change jobs or are currently looking. For starters, if all groups go private, then they will no longer be seen on the person’s profile. So when prospective employers are looking at someone’s profile, they won’t see the professional groups they belong too. Which was something that was very important. Also, they took away the ranking system, to help communicators and leaders to be profiled and seen by more people and to also perhaps become an influencer. Now hopes are dashed.
So these changes are great for companies who use this as a recruitment tool. It is not fair to people who pay for the premium, job seeker profile and have now had all the great functions about it taken away.
Having if/or solutions ultimately destroy even the best of ideas. We are moving into a flexible ecosystem in ICT, and for some reason there are many companies that fail to see that. A better option would’ve been to leave groups as is, and allow those that want more privacy to migrate to the new platform.
I guess there can be pros and cons in this matter. While the primary goal is to eliminate spam, it can be an issue for people who need group access. But I guess you really cannot please everybody.
Have you used LinkedIn group for getting feedback from potential users of a new site?