Lately, I have been “de-grouping”, mostly on LinkedIn. For a number of years, I have been a member of the maximum number of groups allowed, which is 50. I signed up for groups related to topics I was interested in professionally including leadership, literacy, languages, marketing, education and other topics. I tried to read discussion posts and contribute. I thought it was a good way to keep my pulse on sectors and industries that I felt were important to my career.
What I found was quite the opposite. Instead of staying on top of news and trends, I was inundated with messages, many of which did not help me learn, grow or provide many insights.
On the flip side, I was also unable to contribute much of value to many of the discussions.
I have pared down my membership to 10 LinkedIn groups. Here are the three criteria I used to decide which groups to stay in:
- I personally know some or all of the members. I’ve seen the whites of their eyes and I can easily remember their smile.
- I learn something from the discussions.
- I can contribute something of value to the discussions from time to time.
For me, cutting back on the number of groups I am a member of on LinkedIn has helped free up time and energy for other activities such as tending to my clients, teaching students and preparing upcoming presentations and workshops for the fall. All in all, being more selective about how I spend my time and energy online has helped me to cultivate my professional and leadership skills overall. I’m still online… just more selectively than ever before.
I have increased energy as I am using laser-focus to determine which activities bring value to my profession and where I can also make a meaningful contribution.
Related post: How to delete LinkedIn contacts who spam you (and why you should) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1CO
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.