Social Group Management: Are You a Gatekeeper in the Social Network?


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Does your LinkedIn profile look like a NASCAR logo display? I’ll admit that mine has nearly 50 signs displayed. I should also add that after 25+ years of spinning around the business track that my association with the represented organizations is real – meaning I’m an alumnus or in some way affiliated with each organization. I also happen to be the moderator for a couple of those groups which leads me first to an observation, and then a question. My observation: In the last few months I’ve notice a sharp increase in the number of people who want to join a group, but don’t have a background that lines up with the group description. For example, the charter for the NCR Corporation alumni group reads:

“NCR Corporation Alumni Group: The purpose of our group is to build personal networks through our common NCR heritage, pass along business thought-leadership material and job opportunities, and help old friends of the “Cash” stay in touch.”

So now my question: Should someone who has not worked for or been associated with NCR (or NCR divisions, such as Teradata) be admitted to the NCR Corporation Alumni group? Of course you know that my real question isn’t specific to the NCR alumni situation …

Are you a social network group moderator? If so, how are you approaching your responsibilities concerning this situation? Are you opening it up to anyone who wants to join the group – even if they don’t have the supporting background (just collecting friends so to speak, because you don’t want to decline the membership)? I’ll be the first to admit that it takes time and discipline not to put it on automatic pilot and throw it wide open. And there are pros and cons on both sides to letting the non-qualified join (for example, should professional recruiters be allowed to join?). So far, I’ve made every attempt to be true to the original charter because I believe that is what I signed-up for when I decided to start and nurture these groups. But times change and I have watched other groups morph (and some die). I know many of you are in LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. And many of you are group moderators. What’s your strategy or thoughts concerning social group management? Hey – maybe we have a new three letter relationship management (SGM) term.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


  1. Alan

    You ask a very pertinent question.

    To your question, my simple response would be if you are not an alumnus of NCR, then you should not be a member. Period. You can always set up a Friends of NCR group if you want to throw NCR alumni’s collective connections open to all and sundry.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

  2. Thanks Graham,

    Yes, that’s how I’m currently handling the situation for the groups that I moderate. I have discovered that not all group moderators (or group members for that matter) agree with our point-of-view. Of course that’s what makes points-of-view interesting – they vary. I do believe the “Social Group Management” topic in general will become more important in the very near future, and in fact may deserve some type of best-practices research. For example, concerning the NCR (including divisions) alumni group; NCR is a 125 year old company that has employed thousands of people worldwide. For technology related individuals it presents a very large – target rich networking environment. Like many networking groups, growth was slow in the beginning, but now it’s not unusual for 20+ people per day to request membership. In addition, this group can be found on Facebook, XING and Doostang. In short, the group has hit a tipping point and is experiencing rapid growth. In my original post I used the term “gatekeeper” in the title. It seems the term “facilitator” would probably be more in spirit with the role of a networking group moderator. The challenge is how to both facilitate and moderate a rapidly growing networking group and still remain true to the spirit of the group charter.

    Alan See
    Blog: Welcome to Marketing 101

  3. Alan

    A tough one. I see the same thinking in any number of communities set up with an ulterior motives rather than primarily to serve the interests of the members who make up the community itself.

    The moment an administrator (facilitator is self-delusion until the members ask the administrator to facilitate on their behalf) starts to do things for people other than members, particularly without their permission, they lose their legitimacy to act as administrator in my view. And should be fired forthwith as a danger to the community itself.

    A strong view borne of experience. But administrators need to recognise and acknowledge for whom they work. That’s right. For members.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager


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