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.

About The Woman

Social Media Resolutions Follow Up

About The Woman - Twitter Tool

by James G. Milles, Flickr.com

It’s been approximately 2 weeks since my 11 social media resolutions post. It was actually one of my visitors Mark (nice blog btw) who inadvertently reminded me. I have to admit normally my determination would have flagged by now. But this year it’s different! Not sure why, but it is.

So what’s “About The Womangot to do with social media. Well simply the more people who come to this space the better it is for my blog. So it’s all connected and perhaps by reading my experiences, it can help you out too.

Nuts and bolts – 2 weeks ago you could’ve said there wasn’t much going on between About The Woman and Twitter. I followed 11 people and 3 followed me, one of which was my other Twitter account. Things were looking dismal – Twitter was a lead balloon. That was the real motivation behind my post, a kind of self help therapy session for my blog.

Research – Last week I still felt I needed to know something more. The end goal for me is to be using several social media platforms to push this blog. My theory is that the potential of social media is massive for any blog. Of that’s not forgetting good blog content, which most experts agree is the most crucial part.

Choosing my platforms – My first target is to get to grips with Twitter, even though Facebook has almost 3 times the number of users. There’s something about the short, snappy way of communicating that appeals to me. Looks can be deceiving though, on the face of things it might look a simpler way of communicating, but it’s not.

With Twitter everything has to be concise, informative and engaging. How do you do that in 140 characters? It’s hard. My approach is to circulate news from other sites that are related to mine and I merely wrap a short snappy sentence around that. Rightly or wrongly it’s my strategy for now.

Do I trawl through dozens of my favorite blogs everyday? Yes and no. I use a RSS feed called Feeddemon, it’s free, unless you want to upgrade. I spent one whole weekend going through all my favorite sites etc, pasted their RSS icon into the Feedemon’s window. Now everytime I start I get 100’s of new article to harvest from.

Know your audience – I must recommend this article from Mashable one of the best online articles I’ve read. Basically it states that most people who market on Twitter, do it wrong. Did you know if you tweet at different times you have a higher chance of hooking your target? Well that’s the main thing I got from this article. So now I try to tweet at my target’s prime times. Even though I live in Hong Kong, I aim for the North America audience mainly.

Do I stay up all night tweeting? Hell no, I use Tweetdeck. This program allows you to do many different things, the best part for me is the ability to schedule my posts. I set it up and hopefully my blog will reap the benefits of my tweets while I sleep.

Making a schedule – I made one and surprisingly I stick to it. It’s basically first thing in the morning. I arrive at my office one hour earlier, and do my social media stuff. Between 8 to 10pm in the evening I tackle my blog.

It’s not pefect – It’s not, but I remain flexible and with try other platforms and methods until I get the results I want for About The Woman. So you’re dying to know. Well unless you’ve added me already (I’m not hinting) then you won’t know but, I’ve done 130 tweets, follow 136 people and have a whopping 124 followers. I haven’t been that aggressive for following people either. So it’s not bad.

There has been some hits from Twitter to my blog directly. Even though there’s been a general upwards trend, I’m not sure if I can contribute that to twitter or not. Good luck with your social media adventure! Let me know how you are getting on.

About The Woman

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.