There are lots of ways to connect to other people on the Internet. We know this. There’s Facebook (big hello to those of you who like us) and Twitter (and/or follow us!), and a whole host of other sites that either promise to be freestanding social networks, or additions to the other networks we’re already on.

These networks are great for connecting with your friends and the companies and organizations you like. But there’s another “social media” network that I’ve been finding, lately, is also really good for gluten-free info – and I’m wondering how many of you agree with me.

The network in question is LinkedIn, which self-reportedly has about 175 million people in countries all across the world.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a professional networking site where people can, essentially, post their resumés in slightly more detail than your standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper allows for. As the site has grown (and gone public), it’s of course added new features, one of which was Groups.

There are now LinkedIn Groups for all sorts of things: professional associations have groups, as do schools/alumni organizations. There are groups for specific interests, some more niche than others: people who work within the startup community, like the Slow Food movement,  or are headhunters for luxury brands. All sorts of groups.

Unsurprisingly, there are lots of groups that can be really interesting for those of us on a gluten-free diet. They can be a nice way to interact with complete strangers, in a polite, professional way – and to learn about the issues that are on other people’s minds when it comes to the intricacies of the gluten-free lifestyle.

A search for English-speaking groups with the keyword “gluten-free” brings up 111 results. Add in the word celiac and the results inch up slightly, ranging from regional (celiacs living in Indiana) to the demographic (mothers of celiac/autistic children). Some can be joined instantly, some require you to request to join. Some are not real groups, but poorly-planned marketing exercises – these will be easy enough to spot, as they won’t have more than a handful of members.

Once you’re on a group page, you’ll see people talking about all sorts of things – whether or not supplements can help in cases of accidental glutening, new product launches, questions from one restauranteur to a group about training staff to serve gluten-free meals, professionals’ opinions on new studies, etc etc etc.

So, I’m in a few of the groups that are relevant to me (some gluten-related, some not), and I’m wondering: anyone else on here using the LinkedIn groups as a way to see what’s out there? If so, have you found it to be helpful? How?