On LinkedIn, the groups constitute a vast interactive space where members go to grow their networks, crowdsource new ideas, and express a point of view.
Some communities are more vibrant and better managed than others.
Yet as the site has evolved, the LinkedIn groups seem to have lost their luster, almost as if they have been forgotten.
Many have dried up altogether, taking on the feel of a ghost town.
Whereas the LinkedIn groups remain an important piece of social networking strategy, the activities that support them are on the wane.
Since October 14, 2015, when LinkedIn initiated a massive overhaul of its group interface, I have noted a significant drop-off in group activity, both within my own groups and in those of many of my LinkedIn connections.
Insightful contributions to group discussions, which are traditionally recorded on the home page, are few and far between.
The interest is simply not there.
A large piece of this avoidance behavior can be attributed to the demands imposed on users by LinkedIn itself.
The site has become increasingly complex, forcing many to relearn basic practices and continually integrate new site features and functions.
As the size of user’s networks increase, there is increasingly more information to process, and the groups can easily slip through the cracks of conscious awareness.
Gauging the Trajectory of LinkedIn Group Popularity
The growth of LinkedIn groups—in numbers and in scope—has been nothing short of phenomenal.
As this post goes to press, there are in excess of 2 million groups.
As an early adopter of LinkedIn, I still view the groups as viable channels through which one can increase connectivity, demonstrate thought leadership, and conduct valuable market research.
However, it is difficult to achieve those objectives without the feedback of others.
Throughout the years, I have spent considerable time exploring the LinkedIn groups.
I have rotated in and out of dozens of them, even managed a few. My inclination to initiate and participate in group discussions has always been strong.
The liveliest exchanges, some of which went on for months, often gave fresh impetus to my blogging and brought scores of insightful professionals into my network.
Yet today, as I scroll down the group discussion boards, I notice little if any play on the postings.
There seems to be a pervasive notion that, despite the best efforts by group owners and managers, the forum has devolved into a bottomless pit of shameless self-promotion.
Nowadays, the majority of submissions that make it to the discussion boards consist of nothing more than a URL to that person’s blog post, latest media mention, lead capture page, or webinar registration site.
People got turned off and left.