Many of you know I am a huge fan of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is, as you know, the world’s largest business network in the world. It is chock full of incredible information and you can develop a far-reaching and informative network.
One of my favorite features in LinkedIn is Groups. Groups offer you a way to network deeper into your field of expertise or delve into areas you simply have an interest in. Groups are a great way to interact with so many different people worldwide. This is where the “Magic” happens on LinkedIn. Within Groups, you can share information, ask questions, answer questions, learn, read, connect and much more. It is a great way to grow and nurture new relationships and become an expert in your field. Personally, I enjoy reading Group postings in a variety of industries and areas outside of my specialties. I have maxed out my Groups and will most likely max out my Sub-groups.
I want to share three experiences I had recently. As I mentioned, I enjoy reading information posted in a few of my favorite groups on a daily basis. Most people provide wonderfully informative information or ask great questions to generate discussion. I usually don’t have time to get involved in discussions but recently could not resist.
- The first discussion I got involved in was helping someone with an issue she was having with her business. Many people in the group participated by sharing opinions and experiences. All of the participants were respectful, encouraging and extremely professional. I ended up linking with quite a few of the professionals in the discussion and making some new friends. I also looked to see other groups these people were in to see what other great groups I might be missing out on. I was so impressed with this experience.
- The second discussion I entered was on a very different topic and out of my field of expertise. I mentioned that I was not an expert in the field but wanted to participate because I had an interest. I also mentioned that I been reading about the particular subject matter and found it interesting. I really did not state an opinion…just my own personal experience. In about 5 minutes, a response came in ranting, raving, accusing, etc… I told this person he was rude and I did not appreciate his unprofessionalism. I also flagged his comments as inappropriate and sent an email to the Group Manager. In his last response, he basically called me names of some sort with *%# symbols. I left the discussion because I was a bit upset and don’t like to deal with negativity. I am entitled to make comments right? I also tried to put myself in his shoes and wonder what might be going on in his life to be so negative. However, there is a good ending here…One of the group members “stuck up” for me and we linked and went off line and had a wonderful dialogue. So there you go, I made a new connection with someone who is so positive and helpful. I got over the incident pretty quickly.
- The last experience was a little different. I had a conference call with a couple who wanted to find out more about LinkedIn. The wife mentioned that she religiously reads the information I share on Career Success in her favorite group on LinkedIn and appreciated it so much. Wow, that made me feel great…I started wondering just how many people do I impact in a great way every day. Sharing information is a great way to impact your network in a positive way and become known as an expert in your field.
My experiences were a reminder of how important etiquette/netiquette and kindness is in LinkedIn and life, in general. If you can’t say it in a nice way or be nice, then you probably don’t need go there. Being kind and professional to others is where the magic can happen for you (it does for me). Don’t forget, when sharing information and participating in discussions, thousands of people may read or see it. They may not remember if you were professional (ironic but true) but they will remember you if you rant and rave. I am not saying you can’t express an opinion but do it in a kind and professional manner. What goes around, comes around.
Now let’s go out there and make a difference in a positive and kind way. Have a great day!
Posted with permission from Carrie Robinson, Certified Social Media Expert, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org