Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@outlook.com) is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain.

Linkedin, Group RSS Feeds, and Do We Really Need ANOTHER Aggregation Site?

By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D.

Need help planning, managing, or changing how your organization uses technology? Click or tap the above image for more information.As discussed by Gloria Rand, recently Linkedin announced it will be ending RSS support for Linkedin Groups. This feature allowed Linkedin group administrators to feed article links to groups automatically without reviewing each and every one. One possible upside of this move on Linkedin’s part is that it will be harder to flood groups with spam or unreviewed content.

Another possibility is that, by doing away with this particular import function, this is another step in Linkedin’s strategy  to increase site “stickiness” by turning Linkedin into one more publishing/aggregation platform.

My concern is that this may just be pushing Linkedin farther away from professional networking towards a greater focus on monetized access that is designed to appeal more to advertisers and recruiters than to individual Linkedin members.

Since I already have other publishing and aggregation outlets (e.g., my blog, Google+, RebelMouse) I have to rethink paying Linkedin an annual fee for something I can do better on other platforms. For example, I recently spent time adding another set of document and blog post links to my Linkedin profile. I was not entirely pleased with the experience which (a) required me to learn yet one more set of rules for how to manipulate auto-generated summaries and image captures  and (b) ended up not displaying the articles on my public profile.

These days there are many outlets for publishing online content. Many of these outlets monetize this content through aggregation and promotion to paying customers while the content producers share only indirectly in generated revenue. The model seems to be that the benefits derived by the voluntary content producer — professional and social networking, self promotion, etc. — are enough to convince members to create and participate. Facebook and its “free” membership  is a prime example.

Where this model might be breaking down is the growing number of outlets for aggregating content from a variety of producers. Are too many sites pursuing the same set of content producers? Is this what is happening with LinkedIn and its seeming move away from its original focus on professional networking? For example, when I visit Linkedin I’m much less interested in seeing articles by people Linkedin has designated as “opinion leaders” than I am in learning about my connections, regardless of whether someone has decided they are “opinion leaders.”

But perhaps I am in the minority on this and it is only natural for Linkedin to add services to increase its value to paying customers. Facebook makes a lot of money from being a “walled garden” and I assume that Linkedin must be viewing that with great interest.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dennis is a Washington DC area consultant specializing in digital strategy, project management, and technology adoption. His clients have included the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Jive Software, the National Library of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, Social Media Today and Oracle, and the World Bank Group. His experience includes government contract research, software and database product development, system integration and consolidation, and IT strategy consulting. Contact Dennis via email at ddmcd@yahoo.com or by phone at  703-402-7382. 

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