Launched in August of 2009, LinkedIn Groups allows anyone on the professional social network to create a forum around a specific subject or profession where users can comment and share news and information. In June, LinkedIn spruced up the Groups feature, adding the ability to like a discussion, follow a group and more. As of today, LinkedIn had over 750,000 groups on the platform.
Today, the social network, which now has 85 million users, is opening up Groups to the public, allowing administrators to make discussions searchable on the web and on LinkedIn. For public groups, any LinkedInmember can view a group’s discussion if he or she is not a member of the particular group. LinkedIn is also allowing users to share links to discussions from Groups on Twitter and Facebook.
Admins can also restrict a Group’s privacy. If an admin switches to an Open Group, LinkedIn will let all members know about the change and future discussions will be viewable online. Past discussions from the private time period will be accessible to the group’s members, through a members-only archive.
The Groups feature already resembled a Facebook-like interface, aiming to bring social conversations to the professional network. But by opening Groups to the public, LinkedIn is allowing users to spread the conversation around the web, which could help the network become more of a social destination as opposed to simply a networking hub. Here’s an example of TED’s open Group.