Open Groups on LinkedIn - Some New Information

By: Viveka Tuesday December 21, 2010 comments Tags: LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Open Groups

LinkedIn is finally realizing that being a closed network is maybe not the best thing for it's growth.  To help "open up" LinkedIn to non-members, LI has introduced "Open Groups".  I think this is yet another great stride in LinkedIn's efforts to become more social - and personally, I applaud it.  What do you think?

Up until now, if you saw a  great discussion going on in one of your groups and tweeted (the unbearably clunky) URL, the only people who could see the discussion were: a)  folks who were already LinkedIn users, and b)  folks who were already members of that group.  Now anyone can share any content from an Open LinkedIn Group with anyone in their social network (not just LinkedIn) and those people can see and comment on that content whether they are a group member, or even on LinkedIn or not!

This is new as of this morning:

If you own a group (are a Moderator) you should have, or will be soon receiving an email from LinkedIn inviting to make your group public:

Once you choose "Learn more" LinkedIn will take you into your group, and give you the option to make it open:

Below is LinkedIn's explanation for Open Groups and how we - as LinkedIn members - and non-members - might start using it!

Open groups work as follows:

  1. In open groups, anyone on the Web can view and share the discussions created after the group becomes "open".

  2. Discussions in an open group are considered public discussions and will be indexed by search engines.

  3. In addition to viewing and sharing discussions, LinkedIn members who are not in the group may be able to participate, depending on the moderation settings the managers have chosen for the group.

Members-only groups work as follows:

  1. Only members of the group can view and participate in the group's discussions.

  2. Discussions will not be indexed by search engines.

  3. Members-only groups will be indicated by the introduction of a padlock icon next to the title of the group.

  4. Discussions cannot be shared to products like Facebook® or Twitter®.

Switching a group from a members-only to an open group works as follows:

  1. All existing groups will have the option of switching to an "open" group. This change can only be made once and cannot be undone.

  2. If the group owner decides to switch an existing group to an "open" group, all discussions created while the group was members-only will be available in a members-only, read-only Archive and not indexed by search engines.

  3. If the group switches to open, each group member will be notified of the switch through an informational message they must click through when entering the group.

If you do not wish to participate in Open Groups, we would always welcome and respect your decision to leave the group.

Today LinkedIn added some more info about Open Groups:

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.

Whether or not to make a group open is entirely up to the group’s owner.  If he or she switches to an Open Group, we’ll immediately let all members know about the change and future discussions will be viewable online.  Past discussions will only be accessible to group members, through a members-only archive.

Any LinkedIn member can now discover and follow specific discussions of interest in any open group, even without being a member of the group. Here are just a few of the many conversations already happening in Open Groups across LinkedIn

  1. TED group: Wiki-leaks: How has it changed the world we live in?

  2. In the Search Engine Land group: How do I optimize my site for the keywords “health” and “wellness”?

  3. In the Social Media Marketing group: How can one get more followers on Twitter?

  4. In the Harvard Business Review forum: What is the difference between a strategy and a business model?

  5. In the Java Architect group: What are some good J2EE design patterns?

In many cases, you can join right in. But the powerful, flexible moderation tools that werecently rolled out for maintaining quality conversations in groups will allow managers of open groups to specify who can contribute and how.

LinkedIn Local Groups

About the Author: Viveka

Viveka is author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”.
CEO of Linked Into Business, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.  Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer for three years running, and she has been cited in Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, Simple Living, Bloomberg, LinkedIn's Small Business Site and "The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner!

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