Just Answer My Question, Dammit!

If you’ve ever spent two minutes perusing a LinkedIn Discussion Group topic, you’ll already know how quickly the conversation thread can get derailed. And, if I were the one posting the question, I’d conclude that these groups are a waste of time. So how can LinkedIn help improve the value of its app, given it’s really in the hands of its users?

If you’ve ever spent two minutes perusing a LinkedIn Discussion Group topic, you’ll already know how quickly the conversation thread can get derailed. And, if I were the one posting the question, I’d conclude that these groups are a waste of time. So how can LinkedIn help improve the value of its app, given it’s really in the hands of its users?

Here’s one idea: It would be fairly easy for LinkedIn to add a drop down menu of messages that the individual posting could select from to add to their post. These messages would be set up as triggers which would pop-up in front of the individual about to post a reply, for consideration BEFORE they hit the “post” button.

Some suggested message choices might be:

  • WARNING! The original post in this discussion was over X months ago. Your commentary may be irrelevant and you may be viewed by others as “out of touch.”
  • Before posting, please read all the other posts thus far. If you’re not repeating information that’s already been supplied, and your response is relevant to the discussion, then by all means proceed with posting.
  • I am not in the market to purchase any goods or services. I was simply interested in what others think about the topic I’ve posted, so please don’t contact me directly.
  • Are you really an expert on this topic? There’s a “no amateurs” rule in effect on this post.
  • If you really think you can help me with my problem, and it’s within X days of my post, please contact me directly.
  • No smart-ass comments, please.
  • Just answer my original question. No sales pitches, no links to your book/blog/white paper/web page, I really just want to get my question answered.

If LinkedIn were to make my idea a reality, I think the number of participants in the discussion would be reduced (which is not necessarily a bad thing), and experts would be more inclined to come forward and participate in a topic.

My very wise Dad once taught me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I do try to live by that rule, and now I’ll add to it with, “If you don’t have anything relevant to say…”

Author: Carolyn Goodman

A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.

4 thoughts on “Just Answer My Question, Dammit!”

  1. Carolyn, thank you for your thoughtful post; and I admire your enthusiasm for doing the right thing on LinkedIn. I consider LinkedIn a place where people can exchange ideas, network, stay in touch with old friend, associates, and customers. Too often however, I receive a notification about a post that clearly is an on-line ad for a business, disguised as a discussion. My inclination to one of those is to reply with my own ad and "hijack" the discussion…but that would make me just as bad. It might make me feel better though. 🙂

  2. As someone who uses LinkedIn very heavily, I think your suggestions are poor.
    ^ If you post a Discussion and the chat goes off topic, gently comment on current posts and bring the discussion back to your initial topic
    ^ I have been involved in many Discussions that have taken a circuitous route to the main topic, but have been very satisfying to ALL, including the person posting the Discussion
    ^ Regarding the wording of many Discussion topics. After working at a University Library for 20 years and spending HOURS on the Reference desk in Scientific Libraries, I learned long ago that many people really do not know how to word their question in a way that will get the information they are wanting. It was common for me to ask 4 or 6 questions back, before we got to the core of what that Grad Student or Faculty member really wanted
    ^ Who are you considering an Expert and how do you qualify that?

    Yes, sometimes you do not get the desired results from a Discussion you post, but LinkedIn is not simply a source for someone to provide you with your answers. That is probably why the Founders used the word ‘Discussion’ for initiating a chat. It is meant to be give and take. Again, I go back to Libraries. Many people would come into a Library, ask their question and expect us to provide them with the answer. Sometimes that was a reasonable concept. But more often, we would enter into a dialogue and teach them which resources to use to learn the answers themselves.

    If too many of your Discussions get hijacked, maybe the wording of the initial Discussion needs to be reviewed.

    Just my 2 bits worth. I have worked in Information sourcing and disseminating for over 30 years but only have a College Diploma. Do I count as one of your Experts?
    Ruth J Clark
    Providing Prestige Health Care Conference
    http://www.fashionmoves.org

  3. Valid point but good luck with that. As a website operator I know that readers ignore 90% of text on the page and see what they choose to but it would be an interesting experiment.

    LinkedIn groups have become a Niagara Falls of bad, wrong and useless information. Personally I pursue it like a gold miner – I know there’s a few valuable nuggets but I have to sift through tons of bedrock to find them.

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