Yet again I find myself doing a little housekeeping of my LinkedIn groups. In doing this I began to identify criteria – what makes a group effective and would encourage me to want to network with members of that group?
That thought expanded into I wonder what criteria LinkedIn group managers had in mind when they formed groups. Clearly many LinkedIn groups are well-managed and have a purpose upon which contributions focus. Contributions are in the form of discussion and articles of interest to the members of that group.
Then there are those groups that start with promise and deteriorate into a dumping ground for recruiters and what about those who invite you to join groups that are completely neglected devoid of activity – what are these people thinking this is supposed to be a professional networking platform – this doesn’t particularly send out a great message about their business network management!
That thought expanded into thinking about the behaviour of some LinkedIn users.
There are those that discuss, I learn so much from those people who share opinion, those people who interact after all the description of the purpose of LinkedIn describes the site as a place that “helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals”.
Then there are the LinkedIn Lurkers
The lurkers choose to observe discussions rather than participate, engage & contribute. Lurkers often have a LinkedIn profile but their name is hidden, lurkers fail to give anything back to the community. Why would you join and connect with others and then deny yourself the opportunity to utilise your network to develop? What’s all that about?
And what about the invisible ones?
I appreciate that there may be times when you want to be anonymous on LinkedIn perhaps you want to check out the competition without being seen; maybe you are just having a bad hair day. I also suspect that some people do not realise that they are invisible and perhaps need to learn how to navigate their profile settings. If you are invisible you are not showing up in the LinkedIn people search, so what is the point?
That thought expanded into what about the way people interact in LinkedIn groups. Examining my own contributions I notice a pattern I use LinkedIn to 1. Interact with other professionals and engage in discussion, 2. Promote my business skills and services, and 3. Add value, assistance, and support to others by responding to questions and providing a signpost to a useful resource that may provide answers.
However…..(Sigh) there are those who respond to posts on LinkedIn without adding any value what so ever, they add to the post with their own war stories until the post becomes a festering pot of negativity..
Then there are those who sit on the fence
If I have nothing valuable to contribute I keep out of a discussion. If I agree/disagree or can see things from a different perspective then I engage in discussion. There are those who sit on the fence and make a contribution to the discussion from a position of neutrality which often kills the discussion – Got splinters in your bottom? Get off the fence!
When I receive a standard LinkedIn invitation to connect, you know the one that doesn’t even include my name I despair, yet those people who take the time (all 60 seconds required) to add a little personalization to their invitation impress me. Usually this effort is also evident in their future contributions to LinkedIn groups. Some individuals collect LinkedIn contacts like medals. Is that really quality networking? What purpose does it serve?
We don’t offer training in social networking so that’s really not the point of this article, we do aim to network with like-minded professional people. If you are amongst that group please do connect on LinkedIn. We promise not to sit on the fence!