Monday, 12 October 2015

The Death Knell for LinkedIn Groups?

Ryan McDougall from LinkedIn created a thread recently entitled "Changes Coming to LinkedIn Groups", outlining new changes in the works. None of the proposed changes will, in my opinion, address the issues that have arisen recently about automatically flagging posts (and moving the poster to the naughty corner), non-notification of threads and lack of ability to contact the entire group directly.

If your posts are moved by the LI algorithms to the naughty corner, you stay in the naughty corner for a week, before being able to continue posting or commenting. The algorithms are buggy, and quite effectively disengage group members. When you suddenly can't post to your groups, you feel alienated - slapped in the face - and don't necessarily realise that it is LI, not your group moderators or fellow posters who have shut you out.

Fellow poster, Jonathan Case, commented that, in his view, as LinkedIn is "free, you truly can't complain too much about it".

However, I feel that we unpaid members can and should complain when we aren't happy.

That is because LinkedIn (LI) can - and does - monetise the platform through recruitment and recruiters. Recruiters are paid, professional members with access to all of we unpaid members.

We, as the raw recruitment material, are the cattle. As such, we provide the potential for LI's monetisation. And LI should be concerned, because when cattle no longer get palatable food, they will roam onward to richer pastures. That decreases LI's ability to monetise.

I joined LinkedIn because it was great for my profile, but I stayed for the groups.

Prior to June I felt an incredibly strong sense of thriving community on LI. 'Thriving' is no longer a term I would use. Since the June changes I have spent less and less time on LI. The groups that once teemed with live now feel closed, one-way, and stifled.

'Dying' is a more apt term.

Unfortunately we can no longer check our group statistics to find out just how much they are dying by, as LI scrapped access to those statistics in June.

The Group daily digest mailers which once included all links are a part of the death of LI: people can no longer scan the activity in their groups, so they don't check in. That habit has been compounded in the thousands.

Fascinating how pervasive this is. Other people who were regular contributors have stopped posting. Discussions have dried up. The herd is starting to roam.

I am about to informally survey my LI contacts, and see how they feel. The survey link is here, if you would like to contribute your views. I will collate and publish the results on LI, or you can send me a message if you are interested.

...and I am actively looking for a new platform. "Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..."




  1. I thought LI was going to kill groups just by changing the group digest emails, and that was before all the other changes coming soon.

    What I can't figure out is what they gain by making these changes. I'm sure they receive lots of complaints about too many emails, so I'm sure that's part of it. I can't imagine that they think showing people 10% or less of the discussions in email wouldn't affect group traffic though.

    My industry has a group associated with one of the major software providers. I've started participating in that. There's a growing group on reddit with some solid conversations too.

  2. Thanks Christy: much appreciated! Me too - bewildered. I assume they have a master plan, but for the life of me, I can't see what it is :-(

  3. My research company developed a way to measure the relative health of any LinkedIn Group, versus a benchmark of cohort groups. So as not to spam a URL here, just search for "Community Health Score" AND "LinkedIn Groups" -- you'll find an article about it. I am hopeful that we can collectively rescue at least some of the better LinkedIn Groups without Microsoft pulling the plug on them.

    1. Thanks so much, Gregory: that was a very interesting article! If anyone else viewing this article wants to see what Gregory and his team is up to, read the article here:


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