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I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

LinkedIn Groups

I’ve written a few posts now about LinkedIn, and for now still find it be the best fit for me as far as a networking tool. If you prefer something else, that works too! But if you’ve decided to use LinkedIn, groups should be a part of your strategy, and I want to cover why and how.

Right now I’m a member of only a few groups; the Orlando SQL group, PASS, SSC, and a couple others. Orlando has about 50 members, SSC over a thousand. I don’t participate much in the few discussions that happen within the groups (so far anyway), but I like it as an easy way to keep up with news about and within the group because I get a weekly digest (which you can disable). Once you’re a group member:

  • It gives you a way to post a message to a targeted audience. In general I see this used badly, but maybe I’m over critical. If you were going to say something to 1000+ people, make sure it’s relevant and succinct, and don’t repeat it every two days!
  • It is another way to introduce yourself when making a connection. You can pick any group as a reason for the connection, and while I still take a quick look, I get little spam from the group as far as connection requests
  • It has a built in job board, almost perfect for user groups as a way to support their sponsors and members. Almost perfect because no direct way to charge those placing the position openings, but I guess that isn’t all bad.

Some groups are open, some require ‘approval’ to join. Decent management tools if you want to start a group, and they just announced sub groups which might be interesting for a larger group like PASS or SSC.

Bottom line is that joining groups is a way to reach a much larger network without diluting your personal network. I suppose you could join 100 groups or more along that line of thought, but I think it’s reasonable to join groups that interest you. For example, I’m also a member of the Space Coast Users Group group (group squared?) so I can keep up with their news, and the same for Tampa.

If you explore this, look beyond just the pure SQL groups. I see lots of groups here in Orlando that just facilitate networking, and I’m waiting to hear back from a couple people about how well that works out, but I think it’s worth trying – especially if you need to practice your networking skills.


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