Hmm… I recommend LinkedIn Discussion Groups. About once a week or so I am invited to join a new LinkedIn discussion group, some are intriguing so I click on it to see what it is about, some are not. I also like to browse the profiles of my LinkedIn Connections from time to time to discover which discussion groups or collaboration groups they are following. I see one that is intriguing I may click follow to see if it matches my interests, I will also see how many of my Connections are members of the group.
For new college graduates or for individuals who are trying to build connections Discussion Groups are a great source of what’s new and what’s next in a particular field you are interested in. I have discovered quite a number of new connections through following discussion threads, if I see an individual is actively commenting or collaborating on a topic that interests me I Like their comment, I may add to their comment or I may invite them to join me as a connection so I can potential collaborate with them more directly now or in the future.
The good news: LinkedIn Discussion Groups provide a ready source of collaborative discussion group that match my diverse interests personally and especially professionally.
The bad news: LinkedIn only allows me to belong to 50 Groups at a time, so when I discover or get invited to join one or two more groups, I have to think through, do I really want to “Abandon” those one or two or three groups and those discussions and colleagues that I had collaborated with and followed for perhaps two years or more? Will I get a return on my time investment from that new group, well sometimes yes, instantly, and sometimes no… it often takes a while for a new group to build critical may and synergy, some never really become collaborative or just do not generate discussions that pique my interest.
Other good news: my 50 or so groups generate a steady diet of bits and bytes of new, high potential collaborative discussions.
The other bad news: perhaps 50 groups generate a bit too many bytes that I cannot consume, so I log on later in the day and triage: no, no, no, yes – I need to save that for later, no, no, interesting – wow, no, save that one, no, no, great there are new comments on that discussion I was following, hmmm… what’s that one about, no, no, save for later, ok – you got me I need to check this one out – browse – hmm… – like that comment, like that comment, like that comment, ok – I need to comment or ask a question for clarification – or share what I know about this one, no, no, save for later, is it really 11 o’clock already, alright better log off and go back to those five intriguing discussion threads tomorrow.
So LinkedIn Collaboration – Discussion Groups and Discussion threads are a great high potential source for collaboration, networking and building connection with groups or individuals who share your interest.
I am also a huge fan of Communities of Practice and Knowledge Networks and Social Collaboration Platforms such as The World Bank’s – Collaboration for Development Platform with its 50 plus specialized international development Groups/Communities – some are very open to new members who share specialized interests, some are fairly closed with a more fixed and focus target membership.