Case Study: Linked In Group Management

The Role of the Info-Gleaner

In real-life, our decision-making is aided by the ability to “reduce the noise” of information overload. Choice does not increase the possibilities as much as it limits the noise.

We often call this person a “moderator“.

This recent posting from a Group Manager addresses a couple of the most common abuses of the LinkedIn publishing platform:

Abuse by Recruiters

“[TO]… recruiters, HR people and the like. Our members are here because they have a focus on all things UX. If your client is looking for someone who can build wire frames, develop personas, do UI design. Then you’ve come to the right place. If, your client is looking for all of that AND, they are looking for someone to code it in Ruby, Angualr.js, write queries, write Javascript or Java from the ground up because it might interface in some way with a UI and/or touch or effect the UX. This is NOT! the right group for that. Your posts will be deleted and you will be banned from the group. If you use an auto publishing solution for your job postings. Please remove this group from it. A targeted approach would suit you much better then an all out blast. While you may find someone, you will not find a quality someone. If you just looking for a body, well. We know you’re in it for you and not your client or the person you’re trying to find a position.”

Abuse by Group Members

To our members. Please don’t submit discussions that are the latest hot posting on Mashable or Techcrunch. Please don’t submit discussions on how a business is doing X because they changed a color, moved a button or is no where near related to the groups title. Please don’t submit discussions on the latest marketing techniques and more.

Simply starting a discussion with a link to another sites content does nothing to foster further discussions between group members.  Anyone can write a blog post. Starting a meaningful discussion amongst peers is something far different. Be original people.

… Here is what we like to see. Discussions submitted by our members that are truly going to help others within UX or wanting to learn UX. Submissions that will engage members in discussion. Hey!, that’s why the submissions are called..discussions. Simply submitting a link to an article does not promote a greater discussion.

Thanks to Tony Moura, Manager of the User Experience Group, for saying what needs to be said. His comments were in the context of a shoutout to recruit Moderators to assist in managing Discussions in his Group. I feel his pain. LinkedIn has become very Facebook-ey in recent months: It’s shallower. It’s noisier. It’s overloaded. It’s kind of out of control. Much of that is as a result of Linked In’s questionable design approach. Some of it is due to bad behavior on the part of members. But the responsibility for correcting it falls upon unpaid Moderators.

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A Recent Case in Point in a LinkedIn group

A post labeled “Visual Driven Design” was actually a marketing announcement for a product. Not that I have anything against that product, but…

Almost EVERYONE is using this newfangled interweb thing to spread their knowledge. Many are blatant self-promotion hooks. Beyond that: The issues are appropriateness to your need or interest and … actual quality.

For the most part, if you know of – or like – what a knowledgeable UX player has said, then you’ll probably find value in listening to them. Follow or get on the mailing list of trusted sources and they’ll push their announcements out to you. Then you pick & choose. At some point, you may want to “glean” the list down to your personal favorites.

Embrace “The Value of No”

It’s always appreciated when you help to sort out the bad actors.

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A Modest Proposal

… for LinkedIn groups:

Best Practices : Good Behavior

  1. Provide Guidelines – Motivating criteria, Why we’re here
  2. Identify Boundaries – What not to do
  3. Enforce Consequences – It matters

Recruiters … Of course “jobs” is a big reason why we’re here: After all, it’s a professional site. We want recruiters to help us. But remember; recruiter participation in a Professional Group is a privilege. Earn it.

  • Focus on the Group’s Needs – not yours.
  • If you don’t, you will be booted & banned.

Group Members … Contribute meaningfully. The emphasis is on “meaningfully“. Simply re-posting a link to someone else’s thoughts is lazy and inconsiderate (It only creates noise). When you post a link to somebody else’s great idea, you should also be able to answer the question, “So what?”

  • It’s called a “Discussion” for a reason. Honor it. Provide substance.
  • If you don’t, you will be unsupported and ignored.
  • If you persist, you will be booted.

Linked In … I regularly rant about how LinkedIn should support our community of professionals – mainly by providing appropriate tools. Such as:

  • Semantic Tags identify common threads and topics
  • Allow recurring topics to be identified across Discussions and Groups

 Merged 01/21/2015: 102 Views, 2 Likes

One-Click Crowdsourcing

Not too long ago, LinkedIn presented a couple of buttons on every “Discussion” that allowed me – as a viewer – to identify a posting as being a “Job” or “Spam“.

The “old” UI allowed me to quickly and easily alert both LinkedIn AND the Discussion Moderator that the intent of the Group was being violated. It was pretty handy: One-click crowdsourcing of QA.

Sadly, some “contributors” are more opportunistic than ethical – or maybe they’re just sloppy. In any case, the LinkedIn UI used to be more efficient.

Perhaps we can move forward … by stepping back.

So – We started blogging about jobSpam and salesSpam back on April 13, 2014 and  racked up a fair number of Views and Likes during the past couple of weeks.

As a direct result of your efforts, LinkedIn has re-instated crowdsourced Group self-management.

 

There is now a “Report Spam” button in your Group Discussion posts.  Use it (wisely).  You earned it..  So it’s time to declare victory and move on.

Note:

The “Report Spam” button is only offered in private Group Discussion posts – but not in public Pulse posts (like this).

Why not?  

I have not found one moderator with time or energy to control spam. The groups are dead. Spam lives. I hope they enjoy their world… It was fun and stimulating to discuss ideas that were presented by people around the world. What we have in common is clearly more than how we differ. This is a great learning stage, but it has been destroyed by spammers. LinkedIn is making money, but it is losing allegiance.

— Mac Reynolds, Professor Michigan State University

April 13, 2015 – May 6, 2015 : 185 Views, 9 Likes

Simple Logistics

LinkedIn often imposes problems on themselves, their volunteer moderators, and us, their – often paying – subscribers. They do this through their bad design which , curiously, they show no interest in improving.  LI could do a lot to help. But doesn’t. In fact, they often make it worse. Case in point:

Sharing

I used LI’s “sharing app” when I registered for a webinar recently.  It looked interesting and I wanted to share the opportunity with professional colleagues. LI’s sharing app allows me to specify an LI Group to share with, but not WHERE to share it within the group. (i.e. I can’t specify Discussions, Promotions or Jobs). As a result, I received this alert from 4 Groups:

“Your discussion “Video convergence” has been moved from the Discussions area to the Jobs area. If you believe this was done in error, please contact a group manager.”

Well …. for starters, it wasn’t a Job – it was more like a Promotion.  But it was also a germane topic –  not mere product hype –  and I was hoping to generate some group “discussion” on it.  Unfortunately, LI’s “sharing” app also doesn’t allow me to add any text to frame the discussion; so, of course, the posting ends up being just a promotional blurb. Which gets automatically mis-filed as “a job”.  (Points finger at own head.  Pulls imaginary trigger.)

The best thing that came of it was that I ended up meeting the group managers directly (because I bothered to correct LI’s mistake).  But what a waste of time and effort…

Kafka-esque

LI has engineered so many annoying, insulting, counter-productive features into their platform.  I was recently punished for several days as a direct result of LinkedIn’s poor UX. Here’s hoping that they’re willing to clean up their act act some point.

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

Published in LinkedIn on December 4, 2014

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