The strange workings of certain LinkedIn groups

It all started when I joined a popular linkedIn writers group and shared this link, in the discussions section:

102 Resources to Transform Your Writing. Now it contained a graphic of a fully clothed woman dancing, along with this description:

“Do you want to transform your writing? These 201 resources will help you go from amateur writer to Seductive Wordsmith.”

Innocent enough, right? Well, they had a volunteer, who placed this in the promotions category. They didn’t like the words “seductive wordsmith.” They didn’t say anything about the woman dancing. But if the person was a copywriter…or supervised copywriters…they would give them a raise and/or a promotion. Imagine the same person reviewing Ulysses by James Joyce. It would never get off the ground

What is a copywriter? There are many definitions. Let’s even go with one for promote, from Dictionary dot com.

“Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion, or idea. copywriting is getting across the perfect message, with the perfect words.”

In our example, they are promoting an opinion or idea – not a person or business.

There are three tabs LinkedIn has: Promotions, Discussions and Jobs. And here’s how LinkedIn defines the tabs:

“A Jobs tab gives group members a place to share jobs and jobs discussions. Jobs discussions are automatically removed after 14 days. You can always post a job on LinkedIn if you want to reach a wider audience or need a job posted longer.”

“A Promotions tab gives group members a place to post their product promotions. Promotions don’t expire, but they can be deleted by the poster or by a group owner/manager.”

Here were my questions in the “promotion”, which they did not answer.

  • Why is this post placed in the promotion category, when according to the rules set by the owner and LinkedIn, it doesn’t fit the definition of promotion (NOR his definition of SPAM, I might add)?
  • If this is a promotion, why could I share this in other LinkedIn writing groups and it’s classified as a discussion?
  • If this is a promotion, then how can Write to Done gain 2.5 million yearly readers, just by writing promotions?

I wrote to the owner and ask him for help. Here was his reply:

“I will send it to the editors for review.”

Why send it to the editors?  Can’t you make decisions on your own?

Then I opened up this topic there for discussion:

“When should I place something in discussions and when should I place it in promotions?”

And the same person who had the original placed in promotions, said this:

“I believe in the rules XXX has referred to ‘community moderation’ and ‘democratic’ processes.”

Promotions isn’t only about things with prices, but anything that is a presentation in the OP or asks me to follow a link to read something somewhere else to be able to join the conversation. It’s pretty simple

The problem is that I have monitored subsequent posts that exactly had links just like mine.  Here’s an example: Is Nature Writing Old Hat?

Let me settle this question from LinkedIn’s own words. In it, they say this:

Enter details in the “Add more details” box or add a link to a website by typing in the URL and pressing the space bar on your keyboard.

So if I were “following the letter of the law”, I could first ask: “What are some resources that writers can use?”

Then in details, I could say: Here are some examples in 102 Resources to Transform Your Writing.

Now the only thing that needs settling is: What are “objectionable” words in the description?

Isn’t their answer a process of  GroupThink?

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Let’s take that logic there and ask some questions:

  • If you have a few thousand members, how do you measure what members want, unless you have conducted surveys and statistical polling?
  • Why is this group not adopting the definitions LinkedIn has established for groups?
  • If you have different rules, why aren’t they all written down in the group rules section?
  • Why isn’t the owner actively involved with the group?  Could it be they are more interested in business gains from the group?

Let’s explore how a big inbound marketing Hubspot runs LinkedIn groups.  Look at How HubSpot Moderates LinkedIn Groups.  Let’s look at their four categories:

  • “Relevant questions for advice/discussions.”
  • “An interesting article with an accompanying question about the article’s content.”
  • “Important industry news.”
  • “Really darn catchy, unusual, content.”

I’m just like the little child in The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, stating the obvious. There are times the owner needs to step in. Like when a new minority trend in copywriting occurred, when they used real smear words – and posted a link. Well, I have to worry about general sensitivities. And I asked them to follow the comic book guidelines for replacing swearwords with certain characters. But I have stepped in.

Other groups are probably more into resources to help them improve their writing, etc, then they are here. I really don’t believe in sharing knowledge and resources to help others, where it’s not wanted. I should be able to just read the group rules section, along with the LinkedIn guidelines, to know what is expected.

The question was raised there if I get paid to promote Write To Done. I answered as follows:

  • I do not get paid to post the resources links. And I don’t think any of the resources they list, is a paid product. I have a personal and professional standard of theological and philosophical ethics. And that would prevent me from posting links that are affiliate links and disguising them as legitimate posts.
  • It would also be easy for a professional software engineer – trained in these matters – to easily break down and decipher an affiliate link (i.e. LinkedIn technical support, for example). Or even LinkedIn software.
  • The other thing is I use a URL shortener. The one I usually run with is owned by Twitter. Any popular URL shortener would have build in filtering, to weed out things like SPAM, affiliate links, etc.
  • Lastly, Google and Bing would only allow blogs to rank high, if they provide authoritative and popular content. Hence, Write To Done can claim a readership of 2.5 million views, based upon good and authoritative content. Certainly, that many people wouldn’t visit them to view promotions or infomercials.

What has given me perspective here is that I’m in a different culture. Yes, a LinkedIn group could be a different culture. Like those in the books of writer Carlos Castaneda, who also earned a PhD in anthropology for his work. Things could be stranger. Like we could have a group owner like Sheldon Cooper, from the Big Bang theory. And a group manager like Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. If I visualize these extreme examples, things start to make sense by comparison. Perhaps I am joining Alice on holiday in Wonderland. Or traveling with Dr. Who, in exploring an alternative LinkedIn universe. Then I can echo the usual words of Spock from Star Trek: “fascinating”.

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One Response

  1. Hello, yeah this post is really fastidious and I have learned
    lot of things from it about blogging. thanks.

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