Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Trouble with LinkedIn Groups...

... is that anybody can make one, nobody has to check whether another similar group exists, and there's no good way to manage them together if you're a member of many of them. Don't think it's a real problem? Check out the non-exhaustive list of digital signage groups that I belong to:

Seems a little crazy, doesn't it? There must be a better way.


Dave Haynes said...

I started one about a year ago for DS in retail and quickly started to wonder why, and killed the thing months later.

Linked In has turned into a largely useless swamp of people posting loaded questions on discussion forums, like "What do you use when you are looking for a spectacularly bright front projection screen solution???"

Funnily enough, the guy asking sells that stuff.

Twitter is going the same way. I just agreed to start following a guy again and up pops Tweets with song lyrics. Aaaargh.

I use Linked In to look up people's work history and once in a blue moon to connect through someone else, but that's about it. The groups I see have zero value, though the people starting them mostly had good intentions.


Bill said...

There was a push around here about a year ago to create a Digital Signage Today group, but like Dave I thought better of it.

We post news to these groups, which ends up taking an eternity since there are so many.

I wish there was one consolidated group out there, since each of the digital signage groups is populated by the same folks anyway.

Dave Haynes said...

One group would only work if whoever the moderator is acts ruthlessly with the people have turned it into a swamp. Any hint of blatant self-promo and you're outta there. Would be tough to police.

Bill Gerba said...

I agree with you both. And I'd point out that initially the process for creating a LinkedIn group was much more difficult -- I think Adrian Cotterill's DailyDOOH was the first and only one out there for us for quite a while.

But once LinkedIn simplified the process the floodgates opened up, and it has been for the worse in my opinion.

If they're not going to make rules about enforcement, promotion and spam, then the least LinkedIn could do would be to make some better tools for managing multiple groups at once. Something like an RSS aggregator where I can review, make changes, post messages, etc. to all of them at once.

Anonymous said...

There are two problems here: First, the fear that all of us may miss something if we don't belong to a group, so we join everything (hence the need for a single group). Second, that a single user posts a question (read: sales pitch) on every group.

So I join a group because I want to make sure I know what's going on in the industry, and instead I see the same sales pitch 25 times.

Result: In six months, I have not seen a single post that I have cared to respond to. The sad part is that there are a few people out there who earnestly are looking for help/feedback/input, but are drowned out by the self-promotional freedom that so many take.


Bill Gerba said...

That, in a nutshell, is the problem. But as you noted, there is astonishingly little of value coming from the sum of those groups, so perhaps they'll just peter out and become well-known as just another spammy sector of the Internet. Then we can ignore and/or abandon them safely.

Barnaby Page said...

Yeah, I think Bill's right - many Usenet groups suffered the same fate for the same reason. Call it the wisdom of crowds eventually cancelling out the inanity of crowds!

On a related topic, does anyone frequent the Facebook digital-signage-related groups? I'm a big fan of the site as a whole, but I get the impression that the groups side of it hasn't really grabbed people.