In Her Words
When Membership Has Its Privileges
The benefits of joining a group within a social networking site
These days, joining a social network doesn’t mean much, but joining a group within a social network may carry more value. Groups are a great way to find and establish ties with like-minded people, especially those who you know are likely to have a college education and a job.
Take LinkedIn; there are currently nearly 110,000 groups on LinkedIn, a professional networking site that has more than 25 million members. There are groups that connect alums, corporate employees, nonprofit volunteers, and those who belong to special-interest groups. In a large city like New York, where I have been living for nearly a decade, I have relied on friend’s recommendations before joining a group, such as say, a wine club.
It was either that, or, I could go onto a site such as Craigslist.org and find an already-assembled group. But then, I wouldn’t know what I was getting myself into. On LinkedIn, some of the hard work is done for you. For instance, when I type in “Wine” in the Groups Directory, up pops a list of 138 potential groups I can join, ranging from Wine Connections – a group for anyone who enjoys wine (which makes me glad, because I don’t pretend to be an oenophile) to Women & Wine, which has events throughout the U.S., to a group dedicated to Argentinean Wine, to Wine Dreamers, which is geared towards wine investors (not me, as I rarely go over $20 a bottle).
Some LinkedIn groups are by invitation only. And even the group has to first be approved for authenticity by LinkedIn, which is superior to Facebook, where groups have become meaningless because anyone can create one for anything. Many groups even use the same name!
Recently, I signed up to join Seth Godin’s Triiibes network, which is not affiliated with LinkedIn, but has a huge following among professional marketers and others. Godin is a prolific author and blogger, and decided he would “invite” like-minded users – whom he calls “leaders in marketing” – to join his new group. One catch: You had to pre-order his book on Amazon.com by a certain date, and e-mail the e-receipt to his assistant. This is a nifty way for a one-man show to establish a group of like-minded people, without offending anyone else who reads his blog. After that date, it was waiting list only.
By the way, Godin already has more than 3,000 Triiibe members, and this will no doubt help book sales.
Perhaps you have to be a powerful social networking site like LinkedIn, or a famous blogger like Seth Godin, but down the road, it would be great if all bloggers could reap a list of coveted members with whom they could hold focus groups and events and share ideas – and sell books to!! – people who were serious about sharing similar interests; people who demonstrated their dedication in more ways than just signing up.