Help! Where did the conversation go?

Mic Adam
Mic Adam CEO, Vanguard Leadership

Posted on August 6th 2012

Help! Where did the conversation go?

GroupsOne of the first things we learn when we join Linkedin is that we need to participate in groups.  Whether you are a job seeker, marketeer, or a professional, you are told by social media experts and trainers you need to join groups to listen to discussions and contribute content and discussions.  So we go in search of groups that we feel like joining.  I have heard a lot of people complain about the fact that there is a lack of discussion, value and content in many groups.  Thus they bail out and stop looking at these groups.

Here some of us meet our first disappointment. We only look for and join groups that contain peers rather than our target audience.  There seems little conversation going on in these groups since we are looking at what the others (like us) will share and post.  A lot of those posts seem to be self-promotional vs content and discussion driven.

After a while we begin to see that we need to join groups where our target audience is present.  But here too the disappointment is big because conversation is not really happening here either.

I do understand that there a large number of groups and that some are more conversational than others.  However, looking at about 50 groups ranging from a few members to 708.000 members, I find that weekly a few new discussions are started and a few comments are given.  In terms of the new discussions, we all know that only a portion of the information is original and most comes from other places and simply duplicated and shared (which is not wrong).

In order to evaluate a group, I have come up with Conversation Index which is the total amount of average weekly comments/posts divided by the number of members.  The higher the number the more conversational the group is.

Below is a view of some of the groups including the Conversation Index.

A few interesting conclusions:

  • Most of the groups have a conversation index below 1%
  • Not many groups get in triple digits in terms of new conversations/comments
  • Many must parts of groups just to "listen" but it is hard to get a grip on how many

The conclusion continues to confirm to me that LinkedIn is still a pure (very efficient) networking tool rather than a conversational tool or collaboration tool. (And yes, I know I will take some flack for this). On the other hand, I would like to call LinkedIn members to start one discussion and add one comment to a discussion every week to make the conversation come alive.

What other ideas do you have to get the conversation started and going on LinkedIn?  I would love to hear from you.

Mic Adam

Mic Adam

CEO, Vanguard Leadership

Social Media Policy Creator - Conversation Manager - Social Media Monitoring Expert
See Full Profile >


HI Mic, if the Conversation Index important? What if I need to talk to one person in a group and get 10k sales?

Regardless of Conversation Index, the most important is connect the right person.

I agree that the connection with that one person is important but then you you groups to circumvent the LI limitation of sending messages and connection with people.  Of course, this is good and proves that LI is a connection tools instead of a conversation tool.


The assumption here is that 'networking' is translated to sales.  I do NOT work in sales or marketing and for me networking is a form of professional conversation and community.  I am not at all interested in a $10K sale, and feel that using LI for sales and marketing alone is kind of predatory and offensive. It opposes the fundamental role of networking as establishing social relationships.


Having said that, I agree with Mic tht the level of conversation in the forums is very disappointing. LI offers the potential for communities of interest, but does not as yet fulfill that potential. There is little leadership or motivation to push or mobilize the action in that direction. 


If LI devolves into another marketplace, then I for one will leave.  I get too much of that already and do not wish to join a network that is out to sell me something.