Diary of a LinkedIn Group

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, October 10, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

View Mike Maddaloni's profile on LinkedInThere they are, after the job listings, education and accolades. They are like little merit badges, pinned to the scout’s uniform that is your professional profile. Each one identifies you with something, perhaps something greater than you yourself. But why are they there, and how did they come into being?

With no apologies for the drama, I am referring to LinkedIn Groups. If you are on the business social networking site, you probably are a member of a group or 2. Or many, many more. I too am a member of many, and as well am an owner of one and a manager of another. It’s an interesting tale, one that has evolved, and one I would like to share.

One day I got an email from my friend AJ, inviting me to be a member of the ex-CSC Alumni LinkedIn group. He had just created it and wanted me to be a manager and backup resource for it. I said sure, why not? We both worked for CSC and with him Down Under and me in the States, we should be covered. The role of a manager is to approve or deny membership in the group, and now to moderate discussions. People submit to be in the group, and upon review they are accepted. As anyone can create a group, it is up to them to set the rules for inclusion. As thousands if not more have worked for this global firm, we didn’t surely know all of them and that was the only way to verify people – with honesty.

And the fun began. Originally the only way to learn of a group was for the owner or manager to promote by email, or to see the group icon on someone else’s profile and click it to get to the request page. Today there is a search function on groups. When search went live, we found there were other CSC Alumni groups already, but ours was (and is) the largest. Interestingly, many people requested to join the group who never worked or were affiliated with CSC, or never replied to our request to verify their past employment by adding it to their public profile.

Coming off the success of this group, I decided to create one for former employees of IDX Systems Corporation, a healthcare software company acquired by GE Healthcare a few years ago. This allowed me to go through the group setup process myself. I created an icon for the group (or merit badge as I called them before) and where I did not use the IDX logo I did match its Pantone color. After a couple of days, the group was approved and I contacted a few people to be of the first to join. I also asked a trusted, former colleague at IDX to be a manager on the group. With similar experiences to what I found with the CSC group, the IDX group is close to 500 as of this writing.

Now what? LinkedIn is rolling out additional group features, including the ability to message the group and discussions among group members. So far, these features have been slow to take off. But I like LinkedIn Groups and it has been a great way to reconnect with former colleagues and grow my own network.


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