Does LinkedIn Know Their Groups Discriminate?

About The Woman - LinkedIn

by Adriano Gasparri, Flickr.com

Fair dinkum, that’s me I’m pretty chilled and fair about most things. Like the next person I have views about politics, religion, race and sexuality.  It’s totally fine for people to have their own views too.

Yes you may have the feeling this is the beginning of a rant post, but it’s only a partial rant and healing one I hope. Something happened last weekend. I was on Yahoo and playing around with Twitter while thinking about ways how I could boost my visitor counts for About The Woman. Some lucky bloggers seem to have an endless ream of topics, but I have to look for ideas everywhere.

LinkedIn Groups. So there I was, friends have been nagging me to do the old LinkedIn thing for ages, I’m having some moderate success with Twitter, so I thought I would give LinkedIn a shot. What’s LinkedIn? Well it’s the 3rd biggest social media platform with about 110 million users. But unlike Twitter which is widely recognized as the best business to customer platform, LinkedIn is the best B2B platform. However I’m sure it’s not all business people do still build friendships and connections on the sidelines of all the business and networking stuff.

So I gave it a try. I filled in my profile, made it look as nice as possible although I really need some nice profile pics. It takes a professional to make me look good – honestly.  So there I was clicking away on any relevant looking groups –  dyslexia groups, blogging groups, freelance writing and one very cool group popped (I won’t use the exact name) Photography For Women Who Like Taking Pictures.

Bob’s Reply. If you’ve seen my profile, you’d know I’ve spent most of my life around women and I have a deep, respect and love for them in all their roles. So this group seemed to be the perfect group for inspiration! However the group was locked and you had to apply to be let in. There were two moderators, I sent a message and someone called Bob – which is not his real name, but it’s really similar.

Hi Bob I feel this group is right up my street. I have a blog that talks about all kinds issues the focus is on women, relationships, style and more. But I would love to connect and find out more on women in photography. It would be nice if down the line I could write about some, I mean we all have stories and photos speak volumes.

Not saying that’s a perfect message, but I don’t think I come across as a pervert, troll or spammer/marketer. He replied really quickly which I saw as a good sign. Bob said:

Are you a woman?

Yes you know what’s coming next. I was already getting cheesed off, and wanted to send a pre-emptive insult, but I wanted to give Mr. Bob a chance. I replied:

No I am not. This is requirement for your group?

Unsurprisingly Bob said:

Yes it is.

A thousand stinging replies came to mind and I had to sit on my hands to stop them from whipping out angry keystrokes. I’ve imagined several scenarios if the conversation had continued. The first question would have been:

Bob are you a woman?

He probably would have said:

That’s got nothing to do with it. It’s my group and as long as the 37,000 women are in my group, they will play by my rules.

I would’ve replied:

Is this your personal harem or are you the eunuch?

I could just imagine Bob’s pouty face.

I don’t have to listen to this, it’s my group and I’m not letting you in, so there!

Of course that never happened because I’m a gentleman and well… who knows what bodily part Bob may have had amputated to get that moderator’s job.

Does LinkedIn accept this? The point is, does LinkedIn know that people are excluded from groups based on their gender? Because that smacks of sexism to me, I would be equally unhappy if a group of male professional mechanics excluded women who were interested in cars. Who else is excluded from other groups? This is an important question I think.

It’s okay we all have our own opinions and preferences, that’s our right. However I believe in social responsibility especially when comes to the internet.  I don’t support any group or community that excludes another based on whatever criteria. As with everything there are always exceptions, but I’m not talking about therapy groups here. I’m talking about a photography group, that excludes men.

I find Bob’s attitude bizzare, and if LinkedIn condones this, that’s equally irresponsible. I can’t imagine there’s anything about LinkedIn’s rules that might allow this. After all LinkedIn is a business networking platform, which is strange because this would not be accepted in the workplace and certainly not in business. Needles to say I’m finding a lot more love on Twitter.

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14 thoughts on “Does LinkedIn Know Their Groups Discriminate?

  1. There are a few curious groups and types on linkedin, I wonder if his interest in women in photography is that of the top shelf variety? Still, don’t worry too much there are some good folks and groups there, so there’s still hope! It’s still a good place to promote your blog and projects.

    • Hi Grim, I had a quick peek at you blog and it makes we wonder if we come from the same generation ^^. I think you’re onto something with that Bob fella, it could be a top shelf kind of group.

      Even though I’ve decided to punish LinkedIn by not logging in of late, I’ve actually got some traffic from there. So it actually could be the place for pushing my blog! You’re right! Twitter on the other hand is in my bad books as the referrals have stopped ^^

      Look out for me on your blog soon!

      • Twitter is always a tad hit and miss for me, as you really need to try hard at keeping your followers, but its a bit like herding cats! Keep up the good work promoting your blog and it’ll pay off in the end! If you need more traffic, try joining a few blog networks, they bring in a steady amount if you find the right ones for your themes and subjects. I must admit though, I get more hits from search engines than anywhere else!

      • Yeah from more naturally occurring hits, I agree more love from search engines – google is the best. One surprising source for me is flickr.com, because every time I use an image I politely let them know I’m using it and leave my url, just in case they are not happy with how I use their work.

      • Have you tried Zemanta? I can heartily recommend it for wordpress blogs, it allows you to insert pics from the public domain and automatically searches for articles along the same lines as your own, and will send some traffic your way too!

  2. I read this with a lot of interest. I’m really enjoying my work, but not a lot of people see it, compared to others. But, I have a question? In today’s world, is it your work or your followers that takes you forwards?

    • Now that’s a deep question, and in the case of social media perhaps we do ride on the coat tails of others, but hasn’t that always been the way for regular people? It’s an interesting thought.

      Loved your post on london, hope it’s still getting under your skin.

  3. I don’t think a women’s only group can be labelled sexist. A woman’s experience of the world is always through the filter of the “other” – it is still a man’s world. It is a documented feature of dominant social groups, ie men, that members of the group often don’t even realise they experience a privileged position in society – it is just a given. It is their lived reality. It makes it very difficult for them to understand why, for example, women may feel the need to exclude men from a group in order to feel safe and be able to relax and express themselves freely. After all, if you don’t see that our world frames “male” as the norm – in media, film, tv, magazines, social expectations, sport, the workplace, etc – how could you possibly understand how women experience this world? You wouldn’t even see this male privileging as a problem, and a fact that makes women feel insecure. I am using “you” in a general sense, not speaking about you personally. Even the most sensitive men who have grown up with women and educated themselves in gender and representation issues, can still find it hard to get past this filter of their lived reality. It is awesome that guys do try, though.

    That said, I know nothing about linkedin groups, so it could just be a front for racy pictures, pure and simple. Please don’t misread this as a personal attack, I just wanted to bring in a different perspective that you may not have considered as the reason behind men being excluded from some groups.

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