LinkedIn Groups Get a Makeover

Early this morning one of the LinkedIn groups – Sage Partners, Employees & Alumni – which I participate in received an interesting new makeover.

Discussions have been greatly enhanced and brought to the front with large author cons prominently displaying beside each post.

It appears that LinkedIn has moved away from highlighting links that members may share in favor of one row of rotating shared discussion links.

Members now have the ability to vote on links that they like (or dislike) which will in return feature those links more prominently on your group’s home screen.

There is now a Top Influencers section which points ou those who start discussions that gather many comments from fellow members.

Perhaps most importantly it looks as if LinkedIn FINALLY did away with the ill-conceived feature which allowed any member to move a discussion from the regular posting area to the jobs section (the cause of many internal problems when well meaning members either unintentionally or intentionally moved postings out of sight of other members). UPDATE: Nope – LinkedIN just changed terminology – they still unwisely appear to allow any member to instantly move a post out of discussion and into the less trafficked Jobs. This is likely because many of their discussion areas a mess and overgrown with job after job and little readable content.

The ability now exists to flag a post as a job offer/inquiry but doing so no longer seems to automatically move it to the jobs section of your discussions.

One of the best features of the discussion area has been the ability to promote important discussions to the top of the viewing area.  We use this all the time to make sure that important discussions aren’t missed by members who perhaps don’t login as frequently.

To promote a post a manager of the group (this option is only viewable by managers) only needs to click a link within the message. From then on that discussion is highlighted in the Manager’s Choice area for all members to review.

These important discussions are then “stuck” at the top so that other discussions won’t push them down and eventually off the screen.

Same affect as the prior functionality which also allowed posts to be featured –  but instead of being attached to the top of your discussion forum the chosen posts display on the right.

Wise use of this Manager’s Choice allows discussions of importance to avoid what’s referred to as scroll. Which occurs when a message is posted, gathers few (or no) replies and then is scrolled out of easy view. Most members don’t search for older messages so on heavily trafficked areas like the Sage group messages can scroll out of view of certain members who may only visit the site once every several days.

Manager’s Choice messages will now display in a box (see below) that is positioned on the right side of your group screen. These important messages contain links for members to view them without worry that the scroll rate of the forum pushes them out of site before their next login.

LinkedIn has a complete list of new features – as well as a brief video overview – available on their blog .

These new features should significantly increase discussion participation across groups. While many users visit LinkedIn only to look for jobs the real connection is when you share and participated in discussions with other users.

If you haven’t participated in a discussion on LinkedIn – what are you waiting for? The new layout makes it easier and more convenient than ever.