The 50 Largest LinkedIn GroupsPosted at March 19, 2012 inShare78
At the time of this article, there were 1,236,675 LinkedIn groups. With so many groups, how do you find and choose which groups to join? Depending on your LinkedIn group strategy, you may be interested in finding the largest groups of a specific type. LinkedIn groups are very searchable, and when you start typing letters into the search box, you will get a dynamically updated list of groups matching the letters/words you input, typically (but not always exactly) sorted by the number of members.
Being the search geek that I am, I wondered what would happen if I executed a null search a query for nothing.
Many search engines/interfaces dont allow null searches, and others that do tend to return only partial results. For example, with LinkedIns people search, you cant search all of LinkedIn without entering a keyword you will only get results from 1st degree, 2nd degree, and group connections. You have to enter a keyword in order to dip into the people categorized as 3rd + Everyone Else, representing the deep end of the people pool on LinkedIn. However, lucky for us, a null search of LinkedIn groups not only works, it returns all groups sorted primarily by the number of members. That makes it remarkably simple to find the largest groups on LinkedIn.
Why Should Anyone Care About Large LinkedIn Groups?Im glad you asked! Not everyone will care about finding and joining massively large LinkedIn groups, but some will, for very specific and strategic purposes. Most notably, being a member of very large groups allows you to:
#1 Send messages to a large number of people for free, without using an InMail.I still find that the vast majority of people in groups allow messages from other group members, so this comes in quite handy.
#2 Easily send legitimate invitations to connect to a large audience with a high acceptance rate.
I know of some people who send invitations to people they dont know claiming to be their colleague when theyre not or that theyve done business together when they havent, and I do not condone, nor am I a fan of prevarication. If you share a group with someone, its one of the easiest, most straight forward and honest ways of inviting someone to connect with you especially if they are a weak or nearly absent tie.
The 50 Largest LinkedIn GroupsHere is the official list of the 50 largest LinkedIn groups at the time of this articles writing. The largest group has over 730,000 members, and 48 of the 50 have 100,000 or more members. Click on each group of 10 to be taken directly to the LinkedIn group search results so you can explore the groups and join them if it makes sense for you.
Were you surprised by any of the groups in the top 50? You might notice that the order of the groups isnt exactly sorted by the number of members some are slightly out of order. For example, one group with 100,603 members is listed below a group with 100,000 members. This could be a result of LinkedIn estimating the number of members due to the dynamic nature of LinkedIns data (people can join and leave at any moment). Does anyone have any other ideas?
Are Larger LinkedIn Groups Better than Smaller Groups?No, not necessarily. The groups you join should not be based on size, but in accordance with your LinkedIn strategy, and your group strategy on LinkedIn can and should be vastly different than another persons because you (hopefully) have your own specific reasons for being in the groups youve selected. However, there is no denying the power and benefit of being able to send messages for free and invitations to connect to very large numbers of people that you dont have to be connected to at any other level (e.g., 1st, 2nd, or 3rd). There are those who claim that smaller LinkedIn groups are more valuable than large groups because they are more likely to be off the radar of spammers, irrelevant content posters, and recruiters (sorry!), and as such, are more likely to have better dialogue and interactions between the members. This is true in some cases, but certainly not all. Ive performed quite a bit of LinkedIn group research, and some of the smaller, very niche groups still have have far fewer real members than recruiters and other lurkers who are clearly not in the group for the groups main purpose. For a quick and simple example using a large and (in theory) very specific group, if you search the Java Developers group with this query in the keyword field: java -(recruiter OR recruitment OR recruiting OR talent OR HR OR human resources OR executive search OR sourcer OR sourcing), you get around 14,000 results. The group has about 120,000 members. Ultimately, for a group to be engaging and high value for its members, the group needs to have active and vigilant moderators and members who care about who gets in and what kinds of content that can get posted. It doesnt take long at all for a group to become overrun with noise or irrelevant and often annoying content that causes people to tune out, stop engaging in the group, and even leave.
How to See Full Names of 3rd Degree Connections on LinkedInPosted at January 30, 2012 inShare79
For a while, there was an interesting little method for revealing the full name of 3rd degree and group connections on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn has changed the get introduced functionality and UI for most people and effectively eliminated that method (albeit unintentionally, IMO). Oh well it was easy and fun while it lasted. Fortunately, Ive recently become aware of another way of revealing the full names of 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn with a less-than-premium account that I would like to share with you. But before we get to that, Id like to cover some basics as well as some things I have been noticing about LinkedIn I believe they may be tinkering with free access profile visibility. Oh, and if youre on the fence about attending SourceCon in Atlanta next week, its shaping up to be the largest in SourceCon history, and you still have time to register and get a 10% discount using my SC12GC code.
LinkedIn Public Profile Search to View Full NamesNow that the nifty get introduced full name visibility trick is seemingly dead, people without LinkedIn Recruiter access can of course still grab one or more unique phrases from 3rd degree and group-only LinkedIn connections and throw them into Bing or Google to find their public profile and thus their full names. For example, I can take the headline phrase and couple it with the location phrase from a LinkedIn search result
and enter this into Bing: Senior Software Development Manager, IBM Ottawa, Canada Area, and heres what I get:
You can do the same thing with Google, but Googles first result isnt the profile were looking for thats why I favor Bing for this technique. Google seems to index all of the nooks and crannies of LinkedIn yielding dirty and irrelevant results when searching for LinkedIn profile word/phrase combinations.
Is LinkedIn Tinkering with Public Profile Visibility?I am sure I am not alone in noticing changes to the standard LinkedIn X-Ray search results.
For example, while you could see the full names of 3rd degree and group-only connections after clicking on a search result even if you were logged into LinkedIn, now I am finding that if I am logged in, once I click on a Google or Bing LinkedIn site: search result, LinkedIn recognizes that I am not connected to the person at the 1st or 2nd degree and thus only shows me the first name and last name initial. Here is a screenshot of my Google search and the result the full name is displayed:
However, once I click on the search result, if I am logged into LinkedIn, I only see the first name:
I know for a fact this has not always the case Ive been training people on this for years and Ive done this 1,000s of times. Big deal?
No but I still find it interesting to notice changes like this because it means what we have all been wondering about (fearing?) may finally be coming evidence that LinkedIn is working to limit or close off free access to LinkedIn data. In fact, Ive also been running into some seemingly random funny business with LinkedIn public profile URLs. I have encountered a number of instances in which Im using either Chrome or IE and I click on (or cut and paste) a public profile link, LinkedIn tells me that the profile is not found, when I know it does exist because I just looked at it. For example heres one I found while writing this post:
When I click on that link or cut and paste it in Chrome or IE, this is what I get:
So far, there is no pattern to it that I can tell and I have only begun to notice this in that past few weeks. I am not sure what it is indicative of, but wondered if anyone else has encountered this and might have some insight.
Using Alumni Search to View Full Names of 3rd Degree Connections on LinkedIn
Last week, Patrick Ryan, a former colleague with whom I stay in touch, sent me an email with something he had discovered on LinkedIn. I asked him if he minded if I wrote about it and he said no, so here we go. If you scroll down your LinkedIn home page, youll find the Just joined LinkedIn section with Colleagues and Alumni.
If you click on the school name under Alumni, youll be taken to an attractive dashboard with some interesting information.
From here, you can change the years attended, show alumni that dont show a graduation date, and of course search. When you configure your search and see some 3rd degree connections without full names, this is what they will look like first name only:
If you click on Connect and youre using either Chrome, Firefox or Safari (not IE sorry), youll get a pop up that will allow you to send the person an invitation, and it will also