LinkedIn Groups are dead to me. Today I removed my membership in all 22 Groups that I had joined since creating my LinkedIn account nearly 13 years ago. For a long while during those 13 years, Groups seemed to provide the main forums for interesting discussions on project management topics, and a few web boards that had previously hosted those discussions became comparatively barren as a result. Over the last several years, however, Groups have transformed from discussion forums into bazaars crowded with hawkers. They’ve now become too noisy to stay and listen.
Here is a list of Groups’ problems that I’ve been compiling over the last 12 months or so:
- Barrage Marketing. I.e. >90% of thread initiators in some groups are links to external content, and there are few good discussions. (One notable exception is the FIDIC Contracts group, which has a lot of active participants and seems to be extraordinarily well curated. I’ll miss that one.)
- No retention of information. (Short memory and no search). If you stumble upon or participate in a particularly edifying Group discussion – one that you may want to refer to later – don’t expect LinkedIn to archive it for you. If it’s worth saving, copy and save it yourself.
- Classic Silos / Fragmentation of Discussion on common topics. Whether asking a new and interesting question, sharing a Pulse article, or looking to drive traffic to an external website, thread-starters routinely cross-post the same entry to multiple groups. (One day I encountered the same entry in eight or nine different groups.) The scattered and disjointed comments that result can hardly be called discussions.
- Sloppy/repetitive discourse. This is on the users. E.g. ignoring all previous comments while simply repeating them. Failure to “listen” before speaking. (There is no rational motivation for this.)
- Comments hierarchy. The organization (i.e. grouping and sorting) of LinkedIn comments seems to vary depending on the client platform (e.g. mobile or desktop) and LinkedIn source (e.g. Group discussion, Pulse article, or Share). Most of my interactions have been in Group discussions on a computer, where comments have been arranged (until recently) in flat chronological order.
- It’s difficult or impossible to filter views to see only “new” comments (i.e. since my last visit) or even “recent” comments (i.e. within the last day). The “New conversations” control is not valid.
- Outright deletion of valid content by LI – e.g. truncation of discussions (while still leaving them open for further comments). Deja vu!
- The last straw: it seems the September 2018 update to Groups has simply amplified all the negatives above. Clicking a “Group” today reveals a simple stream of graphics-heavy linked content and ads for my consumption, hardly distinguishable from a Facebook or Twitter feed. LinkedIn Groups is no longer a place to converse. I’m done.