I had some time to spend the other day so I thought I would venture over to LinkedIn and see if there were any discussions happening in the groups that I could jump into. I could not believe what I saw. Now a couple months ago, even a year ago, I saw this start happening. Those group members who creep into the discussion area to post a link to their blog or press release or whatever but don’t actually have an intent to discuss anything.

THIS IS NOT A DISCUSSION

Yes, I’m yelling. Why? Because I’m more than a little ticked off by our selfless promotion of all the glorious content we produce. Yes, we see your blog post. We get it, it’s awesome. But what about people, like me, that visit the groups hoping to discuss and collaborate with my peers?

It’s no longer serving the purpose.

Are group managers getting lazy?

I was one of two group managers for a group with over 100K subscribers for a few years. Let me tell you, it’s an undertaking! I dont think people realize what is involved – I mean, what is truly involved – in managing a group. Yes, it’s easy at first with your 10 members, but try managing 100K. It’s easy to get lazy. It’s easy to let the group run rampant and show up once in awhile to pick a manager’s choice post. If you want to be a manager, then please manage.

Why is LinkedIn enabling allowing this?

For one thing, Im not sure if they care if we are discussing or not. Do they? I mean, even though discussion are not happening, that doesn’t mean I will un-register from the site. It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to use LinkedIn to foster and nurture connections with my network. So maybe they don’t care. Perhaps they should rename the Discussions tab to something like ‘RSS Feed’.

Nobody is listening

I doubt that the people who are making all these posts really care if we tell them that links to a blog article or press release or webinar invite belongs in the ‘Promotions’ section of the group. And frankly, I can only spend so much of my time moving all of these ‘discussions’ over there myself – yes, I am the one that flagged you. We can hee haw all day long about the ‘rules’ and ‘best practices’ but if people aren’t listening, then they aren’t listening. Deal with it or split.

Can we even generate leads like this?

Hey, your inbound traffic from LinkedIn went up – woopee do! Did you get any leads? When I was managing programs for a small start-up, I had minimal (cough zero) budget so I found LinkedIn to be a huge lifesaver for me when it came to generating leads. Now this didnt happen because I posted links to my blog articles and website pages in the groups and got referral traffic. This happened because I provided value and when the audience considered me as a helpful resource, they began to trust my company and the inquiries started to come in. I just dont see how this is possible anymore in the current state.

I’m sickened. Truly sickened. I always considered LinkedIn as a group resource, a place to mingle and exchange ideas with like-minded marketers. I might as well read my RSS feed instead of spending any amount of time in the groups. At least there I know I have chosen to consume the content.

What about you? Does this annoy anyone else?