Merge LinkedIn Groups?

June 24th, 2010 | by Jason Alba |

I recently saw this question on an alumni LI Group:

Any chance we can merge this group with the “other” [insert school name here] Alumni Group? We are missing opportunities to connect and share information.

It is a good idea but I don’t think it will work… here’s why:


As far as I know, there isn’t any technology that allows two groups to be merged… whether an option from the group admin interface or from LinkedIn’s employees. I bet they can DELETE a group, but I’d be surprised if they could/would merge multiple groups.

Developing technology shouldn’t be too hard… but, the bigger issue is…


Of course, Policy could be written, rewritten and updated… but let’s look at the heart of the issue: OWNERSHIP.

Ownership: anyone can start a Group on LinkedIn. To start an alumni group you don’t have to be in the alumni office… heck, you don’t even have to be an alumnus!  There isn’t really an ability to have an “official” group – that is, a single group that is THE GROUP.

For example, if someone starts a Group for alumni of a school (or company), and they get, say, 20,000 members, and then the real alumni office/rep starts a group and they get 7 members, which is the better, more official Group?  I wouldn’t join the Group with 7 members because there is nothing going on there.

  • Should LinkedIn GIVE the Group to the “official” alumni rep?
  • Should LinkedIn CLOSE the unofficial Group and encourage people to move to the official Group?
  • How does LinkedIn decide which Group is “official?”
  • What if the person who is admin of the Group moves on, with some spite… how is Group ownership transferred involuntarily?

Another issue is kingdoms…. if I start a Group with 1k or 100k people, and there is a “competing” group with 1k or 100k members, why would EITHER of the group admins want to merge?  I would lose decision-making ability, and the power to send out Group Announcements, etc.  I want the Group to be my own… right?

If I’m worried about people sticking around, or having the Group grow, I should worry about the value I provide… sorry if we can’t merge and have one place for you (in other words, the consumer loses out because of the fragmentation), but I want my kingdom to thrive… not merge.

What do you think?

  1. 2 Responses to “Merge LinkedIn Groups?”

  2. By KW Norris on Jun 24, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for the explanation. Sorry, I did not phrase my question correctly. A technical merge is not what I suggest nor would I ask a group manager to get all the approvals ect that he/she might deem appropriate before such action would take place.

    However, putting the “kingdom” aside, I think the group managers could agree to delete one group and ask all participants to join the surviving group.

    I don’t understand the kingdom part. I don’t even know who created or manages the groups.

  3. By Jason Alba on Jun 25, 2010 | Reply

    Here was my response to what KW wrote on the LI Group (he copied most of his reply in the comment above):

    KW, before I respond to your clarification/question, let me commend you for how you responded to this… you left a comment (mostly what you wrote above) on my blog post… that was spot-on, and the right etiquette for a situation like this… thank you for taking the discussion to my blog (I can talk about WHY later, if you want).

    In response to what you wrote:

    >> group managers could agree to delete one group and ask all participants to join the surviving group.

    I think it’s unrealistic to expect people to go join another group. In other words, I bet you get less than 50% response if you tell people they are shutting this down and please go to the other group. I’d guess the manager/admin of this group wouldn’t want to lose that many people.

    >> I don’t understand the kingdom part

    This is really the heart of the matter, imo.

    >> I don’t even know who created or manage either group.

    I’d say, in addition to not knowing, most people won’t really CARE who created the group… they just want a strong, healthy group…

    >> We are in information overload


    >> I would hope the group managers would recognize that and make an effort to get these groups into one where we could all be more effective, inclulding the group managers.

    I think once Group managers get the taste of power/authority, they would be reluctant to give it up to someone else (there isn’t admin-sharing capability, afaik). And even if there was, you then move to a position of committee leadership, as opposed to just making decisions….

    This is really a human issue, not a tech issue… I don’t disagree with you that it would be easier for US, the group members, but I don’t think admins would go for it.

    Have you contacted the admins to ask them what they would do? Their responses would be interesting…

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