LinkedIn has introduced a new way for professionals to initiate conversations within LinkedIn Groups. The new application – Polls – acts as a fast way to start a discussion and collect useful information about a topic.

LinkedIn Groups are created by people who want to share common professional interests. You’re also able to target specific audiences based on the Groups they participate in.

Just as any member can “Like” a discussion or comment in an open Group, a user can now vote on a poll created by a Group. By default, any member of the Group can create a poll; however, moderators can restrict the creation of new polls to other moderators through Group Settings.

“Poll creation follows the same rules managers have set up for moderating discussion creation, including any requirements for approval in the Submissions Queue,” explained principal product manager Ian McCarthy in a blog post on LinkedIn.

The company hopes that Polls will help to generate conversations within the Group. “LinkedIn Groups are great for organizing users around similar topics but there is often a big time lag in conversation compared to engagement on other social networks,” Syracuse University Social Media Professor Dr. William J. Ward told ReadWriteWeb.

Although it sometimes falls behind platforms like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network with over 100 million members worldwide. For Group managers, Polls can help kickstart a conversation or could be an effective way to ask for feedback around a product or event.

[Image credit: Patrick Mueller]