Career-focussed social network LinkedIn is to roll out a host of improvements to its Groups feature, including a standalone app.
Debuted in 2004, LinkedIn sought to foster connections between business professionals, including Groups – a place where like-minded people could share content and discussion. However, with more than 2,000,000 groups now in existence, the company is seeking to improve the user experience.
A recent Venture Beat report has highlighted what changes will come into effect. Most notably, Groups will be made private in a bid to halt the flow of self-promotion and spam. From October 14th, only members of Groups will be permitted to view discussions and contribute to them.
LinkedIn will also block any search engines from crawling these discussions – a decision intended to build trust that it’s a trustworthy private place for communication. The impact of this on search engine optimisation is yet to be seen.
In a statement posted to its help centre, LinkedIn said:
“Our data has shown that open groups have historically attracted a larger percentage of low-quality conversations.
“Members-only groups have created significantly more participation and conversations than others (up to five times more), indicating that members feel more confident contributing in these types of groups.”
People who own Groups will be required to make them either ‘Standard’ or ‘Unlisted’, with visibility being the notable difference. Unlisted groups will not appear on the site’s directory, and their badges will not be visible on users’ profiles. Only managers and owners will have the authority to invite new members. Standard groups allow members to invite 1st degree connections to be a part of them.
Other improvements include:
– Improved filtering to remove spam and poor quality content
– Comments will be posted right away to improve the flow of conversation
– Anyone starting new topics can upload a picture
– Members can be mentioned in a manner similar to Twitter e.g. @member
– Subgroups will be switched to full Groups to avoid confusion