LinkedIn is about to make a power move.
I've been using Facebook a lot more lately. It has some powerful features that enable me to initiate conversations with people. LinkedIn, by comparison is very sterile. However, LinkedIn is where business happens. I think too much play still happens on Facebook. Business happens on Facebook. But, I don't think 40+ serious business professionals (outside of the marketing world) will ever really adopt Facebook as a business networking tool, atleast until the kids just graduating college are 40+.
So, what's LinkedIn's power move? For a few years now, people have been building groups on LinkedIn about all kinds of topic. There was very little benefit to the members of the groups. Owners of the groups, could of course, send emails to the members. (Not many marketers caught on and I expect to see the controls tightened on the ability to download email addresses.)
I also expected for a long time that LinkedIn would launch functionality to enable the groups to interact via the site. The first thing they're launching is forums, which is an obvious idea, albeit nothing that new. What'll be revolutionary about it, I presume, is that when users post to different forums, their contacts will probably be notified via their feeds. LinkedIn Answers already does this, making it possible for people to tap the collective wisdom of their network and the wider linkedin network very quickly. (Answering questions is also a good promotional tool.) I bet their forums will be used more frequently and will draw in all kinds of conversations.
Here's the official announcement from LinkedIn (from an email):
First, thank you for managing your group on LinkedIn. We sincerely appreciate the time and effort you devote to your members, and we know they value it. Together you have made Groups one of the top features on LinkedIn.
This Friday, we will be adding several much-requested features to your group:
- Discussion forums: Simple discussion spaces for you and your members. (You can turn discussions off in your management control panel if you like.)
- Enhanced roster: Searchable list of group members.
- Digest emails: Daily or weekly digests of new discussion topics which your members may choose to receive. (We will be turning digests on for all current group members soon, and prompting them to set to their own preference.)
- Group home page: A private space for your members on LinkedIn.
We're confident that these new features will spur communication, promote collaboration, and make your group more valuable to you and your members. We hope you can come by LinkedIn on Friday morning to check out the new functionality and get a group discussion going by posting a welcome message.
What do you think of the new move? About time? Implications?