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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11 Social Media Resolutions For People Like Me

I know how it works. I even have a Twitter account for this blog. But apparently that’s not enough if you want to enjoy a slice of the social media

About The Woman - Twitter Tool

by James G. Milles, Flickr.com

revolution cake! You’ve read all the articles, but you’re still not confident enough to dive into the world of social media. Well that’s kind of how I feel.

So why do people use social media? The answer is as diverse as the number of people using it. Many different kinds of organizations, including charities market Twitter and there’s no doubting the effects of social media on people’s lives. But Guy Kawasaki who’s a venture capitalist (social media icon) summed it up nicely:

There are two kinds of people on social networks: those who want more followers and those who are lying.”

So how well am I doing? I follow 11 twitter accounts and have 3 followers. That’s pathetic I know – my cat could tweet and gain more twitter followers than me. I thought Twitter would somehow magically spring board my blog into success. It seems it’s not that simple, and short of buying Twitter followers it won’t be. This is why I’ve compiled this helpful list of 11 resolutions.

So this year let’s grow our garden of twitter followers, together. Think of it as a guide of sorts, a kind of Twitter for dummies list. Although I mainly mention Twitter, these tips must be relevant to all platforms.

Do your research – There’s a serious amount of info out there that’s written by people who know what they are doing. For example how many twitter accounts should you have? Or how much and how often should you post? Try this great article.

Choose your weapon carefully – What Social media platform? Again do your research. Some social media platforms favor different genders or age groups.

What’s your message – why are you doing this? For example a colleague has suggested that I use Linkedin to help network for my real life job.

Make a schedule – Simply decide when you’re free. It’s not unlike blogging, you need to set aside some time to use and explore.

Stick to it! – I’m being such a hypocrite here but, once you’ve made that schedule, stick to it! You don’t have to purchase Twitter followers, it’s about building relationships and that takes time.

When are they on? – who are you trying to connect with?  Twitter is a very active platform, so it pays to keep your finger on the pulse. You can use different Twitter tools to schedule your tweets, and HootSuite is a good example of an excellent Twitter tool. Although I’m not sure how effective scheduling tweets are.

Engaging content – whatever you are talking, tweeting or posting about. The content needs to be engaging. Spamming your followers with posts, or Twitter promotions will only hurt your Twitter stats. You want to hook them not push them away.

Acts of kindness – according to @TinyBuddha random acts of kindness, that are unmotivated by something you want, can make a difference to followers. Offer to help with something.

Be active not reactive – use your offline time to consider what you’re value to a the social media might be. Put some thought into it, rather than just reacting.

Power down – Arianna Huffington has commented on this, she believes you should take time to power down before sleeping, not emailing and turning all the gadgets off. Basically don’t burn yourself out, take time off to think or rest when you have to.

Enjoy it – It’s damn hard to succeed at anything if you don’t enjoy it.

There’s no secret to building a network of free Twitter followers, it’s just going to take us sometime. If you’re interested in finding out more about Twitter statistics twitaholic.com is a great place to start, it lists all the top Twitter accounts.

So how are you doing with your Twitter? Let me know, I would love to hear from you.