A colleague on LinkedIn recently asked what others have been thinking – why does she join so many groups? The answer is simple. I am a Joiner. It’s not as bad as it sounds and if there was a support group, I’d probably join. Since childhood, I have always belonged to more than one group (i.e. club, sport, activity, and/or organization) at any given time. My social tendencies stem from a genuine love of people and conversation. The good news is Joiners are natural connectors because they have access to an abundance of people and ideas. As social butterflies, we like spreading information. Therefore, we also like to include people because no one wants to feel like the last kid standing on the blacktop as teams are picked.

Joining groups on LinkedIn allows me to correspond with people whom I share a social common denominator while still maintaining the privacy of my first level connections. People in the groups I join are like pen pals. I can correspond when I have something to say but they remain just outside my daily life. Some groups are active with blogs, websites, and frequent conversation. Other groups are nothing more than a catalog of contacts.

Recently, I have been jumping into groups to monitor and observe them for my clients. Strategic uses of groups can be alumni, target audiences, brand loyalty, membership organizations, social/political causes, and industry groups. Groups can be inclusive or exclusive. If you start the actual group, you have the added benefit of owning the database of email addresses. A client retained me to start a group and the idea was sticky enough that it went viral. In six weeks, there were over 1,000 members in 26 countries. Apparently, there are a lot of other Joiners to be found on LinkedIn.

What are you opinions on groups on LinkedIn, do you join ’em, beat ‘em, or ignore ‘em?