Over the last year, Linkedin has slowly but steadily made significant changes in the way members interact with each other all throughout the site. Some of these changes have been cosmetic and welcome. In my opinion, the majority have had a negative effect on our groups and the way we interact within them.
Here are the top five major changes that affect networking in our groups:
1. Communicating with a Fellow Group Member
From Linkedin “The ability to message fellow group members has been limited to 15 free 1:1 messages to any LinkedIn subscriber who is solely a fellow group member each month. This limit is set for all the groups you belong to and not for each group individually. If you go over the limit, you’ll see an error message until the next month begins.”
It is challenging to network when your ability to connect to fellow group members is limited to such a small number of messages. “Conveniently,” Linkedin is more than happy to sell you a Premium account for more options.
TIP: I add my contact information to my profile and summary to allow people to contact me directly.
2. Removal of the Promotions Tab
From Linkedin “General member feedback indicates that promotional content in LinkedIn Groups isn’t a valuable experience, as it can quickly lead to spam. In an effort to focus on quality conversations, we’ve removed the Promotions tab.”
Any new promotional posts will go to the moderation queue for the owners, managers, and moderators to approve.
This feature has certainly cut down on the irrelevant promotional posts in the groups but now relevant promotions have nowhere to go in the discussion area.
TIP: Use the discussion area to stimulate conversations, post questions, ask for feedback, advice or assistance.
3. Better Content Filtering
LinkedIn says it has “improved the filtering of spam and low-quality content so that promotional conversations stay out of the conversation feed and conversations can happen around more relevant topics.”
This is happening automatically from LinkedIn. If content is off-topic or irrelevant, it is automatically flagged or removed.
Note: Job listings and job conversations posted to the main conversation feed are automatically moved to the Jobs tab.
4. Posting Images in Conversations
Linkedin heard your feedback about “posting images in conversations. You can now make conversations as engaging as possible by posting images to any new conversations.
When you start a conversation, you can click the image icon in the lower left corner of the conversation window to upload your image.”
Note: You still can’t post images in comment replies.
5. Groups Highlights and Email Digests
Linkedin created “a digest of the most popular and recent conversations to cut down on emails from your groups and help you follow the most interesting conversations.
You’ll also find your personal Highlights page within LinkedIn Groups. Highlights are a snapshot of the most important conversations happening from all the groups you’ve joined”.
You don’t get to prioritize or choose what groups you want to see regular emails from. It is a one-size-fits-all approach.
There have been many more subtle changes made to Linkedin (You can see the entire list of changes to Groups here: http://bit.ly/1Lv3g1h), but the ability to create and nurture professional relationships has not changed. The way we communicate is constantly evolving – and for better or worse so is Linkedin.
Please let me know how these Linkedin changes have affected your networking goals or what you have done to adjust your approach.
All the best,
PS: This quote sums up my feelings on this topic – “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”