Some of you may have noticed that LinkedIn now has a group feature called “Open Groups”. This feature allows anyone to view discussions and comment on them, member or not. Many group managers are concerned the discussions will no longer be private and may cause members to stop posting. Don’t worry! Unless the manager changes the group restrictions of existing groups to “open” the discussions remain private and only visible to members. If the group is switched to “open” each member will receive notification of the change. However, moving forward, all newly formed groups will automatically be designated “open”.
The main reason for this change is to make the content Google friendly. Every Open Group discussion will be indexed on Google and other search engines now.
The benefits of an Open Group are:
- Anyone can join discussions in open groups without first becoming a member
- Anyone on the web can view and share discussions in Open Groups
- Discussions will be indexed by search engines
The benefit of a “members only” group are:
- Privacy! People tend to contribute more to a group of approved peers. There is a certain level of trust
- No solicitation
- Managers have full and complete control on the quality of the membership
Additional things to keep in mind:
- The default for newly created groups is “open”
- Once you switch an existing group to “open” it cannot be switched back
- If your group becomes “open” all of the content prior to the switch will only be available to members in a “member-only” area
- A member only group will be identified by a lock symbol
- A manager of an “open group” can still control the discussions and delete any that are inappropriate
Now, group managers will have the ability to determine what is more important, the groups privacy or the ability to share your group and its discussions with anyone.
What option do you think would be best for your situation?