Earlier this week I saw a huge storm brewing about an e-mail that some LinkedIn users were getting from LinkedIn. Basically, it said something like “you can only be in 50 Groups. Trim it down asap, or we’ll do it for you.”
“We’ve seen a tremendous boom in interest in LinkedIn groups this year, and we’re planning on launching some exciting new functionality to this area in the coming months. However, with the boom in excitement, we’ve also seen some abuse of the functionality.
The limit is an attempt to reign in potential abuse on the platform in the short term as we expand the functionality of groups. We’re definitely measuring and watching this area carefully, so we’ll expand this limit over time if technically possible.
Currently, there are a very small number of people outside of this limit, but we know that doesn’t help if you are one of them. We hope you and others will be patient as we work to make the groups platform on LinkedIn even more useful.”
They claim there aren’t many who this affects, and most are probably abusers anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal, right? I’m only in 4 Groups, intentionally not joining many. But there are some who are on hundreds, and some who have started hundreds. What is going to happen to those who started over 50? I don’t know – we’ll see how the chips fall.
There are multiple issues here, one is the way that LinkedIn is applying this new policy. It’s not without bugs (for example, someone from the MVPF forum complained they couldn’t withdraw a request to join a Group). But it does seem quite heavy-handed. In that same Get Satisfaction thread, Scott Allen makes an argument that perhaps they are barking up the wrong tree, and limiting to 50 groups isn’t realistic (if you count all of your past employers, schools, etc.).
There is hope, substantiated by Adam’s comment, that more Group love is to come. It has to come, if you ask me, because Groups are far from functional. It’s funny to me that this has caused such a stir, considering there currently isn’t much value in joining Groups.
On the MVPF list someone made an interesting distinction – these are not social, communication, or collaboration groups. These are “affinity” groups. Think about all the people who put a sticker on the back of their car … it doesn’t allow them to communicate with other sticker owners, but it does show affinity to a cause, right?
That’s about how powerful group membership is on LinkedIn — For now. The big question is, how social are they going to get? Will it look more like Facebook groups? Who knows… only time will tell.
For now, there are plenty of people who are ticked off about the heavy-handed way this is rolling out.