Now to kick off this blog post I would like to say that I am a strong proponent of LinkedIn. As I have stated in a previous blog post:
This site is an incredible tool that can be utilized to connect with colleagues, experts, and various like-minded individuals in your industry, whatever that industry may be. If you are blogging and trying to get your name and expertise out into the field, this is a perfect vehicle to make things happen and get you increased visibility for opportunities and work assignments. Unfortunately, there is another side to LinkedIn that needs to be addressed to level the playing field and quantitatively equalize the arena. The Groups function needs to have better safeguards in place.
Let me show you my shocked face…
I recently found out how detrimental to business and visibility the flag function in various groups could be when an anonymous someone either disagreed with my point of view on a discussion point or had a problem with me personally trying to advance my contacts in my field. If you have not experienced this phenomenon, let me give you a breakdown of what occurs. I am in roughly 25-30 groups on publishing, print and electronic and digital formats of content transmission. One of these groups flagged me, which then caused a ripple effect throughout all the rest of my groups. Whenever I post a discussion to any one of my groups, the discussion goes into a “review” stage where it can languish for who knows how long before the group owner or manager gives the approval for the post to go “live”.
DAG: Protect Us LinkedIn
My first stop along the “Defense Against the Groupies” (or DAG as I refer to it) phase was to go directly to LinkedIn customer service. Since I just upgraded my profile to a paid subscription, I thought this would be an easy fix through the LinkedIn website infrastructure. No such Luck! I was told that since I was flagged or blocked on one of my groups, all of my groups had been put on virtual lock-down so I would need permission to post from each individual group leader for removal from this exile. After a few exchanges with customer service, I decided to take the road of least resistance and contact all of the group leaders or managers for my various groups.
Contacting Group Leaders: Networking with the TOP!
Contacting all of the group leaders was a great experience. From most, but not all, of my group captains I received assurances that my posts would be put on approval. Other groups have bylaws that stipulate that they do not let unfiltered discussion points go up on the board, which is fine with me and I am not one looking to break the bylaws of individual groups. From one manager I received a written tongue lashing on shameful self-promotion (when you have been laid off and are looking for consulting work, I think shameful self-promotion is the least of my worries, more like MORTGAGE PAYMENT promotion!)
Prognosis: FUBAR But Getting Better
At this point, my posts are still being filtered. This is not right. I am getting spammed by many fellow group members when I look at the discussion boards and they are not being filtered. Should I just start flagging everyone else so that there is an even playing field? No, that goes against my principles of competition and fair-play. I think LinkedIn needs to establish some Group rules for all groups. If you break the rules, then you forfeit the ability to post for a given amount of time. Two infractions would mean a time-frame double the original punishment, and 3 would be expulsion from the group. I also think that the individual should have an appeals process so that group members cannot arbitrarily flag posters for trivial reasons. Also, if a flagger does so for a trivial reason than punitive actions should be taken by the group leader against that individual as well. This would be akin to bringing a frivolous lawsuit, losing the case and then being made to pay the fees of both parties. If someone had a problem with a discussion post, they would bring it to the attention of the group owner or manager, who would be the one who could issue the flag.
Don’t Go Soviet…
Anonymous attacks on discussion posters and bloggers is antithetical to what LinkedIn is all about. A Free Enterprise system promotes fairness and competition without undercurrents of Machiavellian/Totalitarian tactics. The ends do not justify the means as KARMA is one wild ride when it swings back on you.
At least I am getting a great blog post out of all this mayhem!
And now we dance…