Should I Open a LinkedIn Group?

January 14th, 2011 | by Jason Alba |

LinkedIn announced they would allow you to open a group so that people could see your contributions just by searching on Google (or any search engine).

You can read LinkedIn’s announcement about this here. Quoting from that post:

In the new Open Groups, all discussions can be viewed by anyone on the web, found on any search engines, and can be shared on other social networking platforms like Twitter, in addition to LinkedIn.

It sounds pretty cool (kind of)… sharing things out to the entire world.  That’s what the World Wide Web is all about, right?

I think there’s more to it than that, though.  I’m on almost 50 Groups (the limit) and I have seen many of them go “open.” I personally don’t care because I’m not active in the discussion, in general. But I’ve seen a lot of people write in and say they were there with peers, or people of a like mind, and wanted their conversations and contributions protected (not open to the world).

I have chosen to not open my JibberJobber Group. If people want to see what we’re writing, or add to the discussion, they can join the Group.

I think the best way to implement an open Group is to start is as open, not to change it midstream.

That’s just my preference – not necessarily the right or wrong way.  Any thoughts?

(one more thought: if you put ANYTHING online, whether it is a protected place or not, expect ZERO privacy. I’m not saying that sites (like JibberJobber, for example) will exploit or betray or go back on their policy, I’m just saying don’t expect to have your private stuff kept private in an environment like LinkedIn Group, whether it is open or not.)

  1. 6 Responses to “Should I Open a LinkedIn Group?”

  2. By Heather on Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Jason. I appreciate your weighing in on this, it’s been “popping up” every time I administer my group.

    I agree with not opening it mid-stream.
    I was thinking of asking the group members if they would like it opened (or wouldn’t be opposed to it).

    Having it opened could also create more administrative/moderation activity.

    Have a great weekend.

  3. By reinkefj on Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

    I guess the question is what would be the purpose of this new open as yet unnamed group?

    imho, I find that when I do “stuff” to help others, it often works out well. When I focus on “what’s in it for me”, then not so well. Obviously not scientific, but it’s a good principle. “First, seek to help.”

    Of course, I’ll support any group you want to start.
    :-)
    the big fat old turkey hisself

  4. By Jason Alba on Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

    @Heather – you are welcome :)

    @John – I was talking in theory… I don’t plan on opening another group but I sure appreciate your support!

  5. By Kim Birkner on Jan 25, 2011 | Reply

    As a “job huntress,” the newest advice is to open a group to form yet another portal for recruiter, employers to find you… My question is what is my content going to be? I can talk about myself and why I am a “good fit” for a company but would anyone REALLY join for that ?

  6. By the big fat old turkey hisself on Jan 25, 2011 | Reply

    @kim Please remember the sources of my education: I’m just a fat old white guy injineer with: Law “degree” from watching Judge Judy; Medical “degree” from watching Doctor Phil; Building “degree” from watching “Holmes on Homes”; Investing “degree” from reading about Bernie Made-off; and creating caring human relationships from studying the movie roles of Gunny Ronald Lee Ermey!

    With the disclaimer about “human relationships” …

    “Open a group” about you?

    I’d suggest that you are missing the point … …

    “First seek to help, then to be helped”

    You’re focused on you. As I tell “baby turkeys” who insist on writing their objectives in the OBJECTIVE section of their resume, no one cares about you or what you want!

    In that case, they fail to recognize that “Employers have needs. A resume’s object should be used for how you satisfy THEIR needs.”

    In your question about opening a group to find your next job, of course, no one will come visit when it’s about YOU. Make it about how you in your niche can help others. It can be topical articles about your field of expertise, opportunities in your niche that you’ve found (even if they are “yours”), and techniques appropriate to your niche.

    Then people will come. Some of those people may become networking contacts. Some become friends. Some may even be employers. That’s how to extract value from a “group”.

    Please accept this in the spirit it’s offered, as opposed to how it is phrased. Gunny Ronald Lee Ermey really loves people!

    IMHO,
    the big fat old turkey hisself

  7. By Jason Alba on Jan 25, 2011 | Reply

    @Kim, I agree with the big fat old turkey.

    My post is not about an individual opening a group about … the individual.

    Instead, I could see you opening a group for your peers, or colleagues… it isn’t about you, but your expertise or passion or something like that.

    Make sense?

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