There are 3 Settings to choose from when deciding how others see you on LinkedIn when you’ve browsed their Profile. This article examines the 3 settings and explains why the Anonymous option can come back to bite you if you don’t know how to use it.
You can opt between 3 settings in ‘Privacy & Settings’ – Profile – Privacy Controls – ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile’.
(1) FULL: “Your name and headline (Recommended)”
(2) SEMI ANONYMOUS: “Anonymous profile characteristics such as industry and title”
(3) ANONYMOUS: “You will be totally anonymous.”
FULL is self explanatory and the default setting – if you join LinkedIn and never mess with this Setting, you will always be identified by your Name & Headline. It’s recommended by LinkedIn because it’s designed to maximize engagement between users:
SEMI ANONYMOUS can be fairly specific OR incredibly vague, depending on how you’ve filled in your Profile (Headline), but can be clicked, for example:
ANONYMOUS always looks the same and your footprint cannot be clicked:
BEWARE! ANONYMITY CAN BE TEMPORARY
You may have perfectly good reasons for being anonymous when you surf Profiles on LinkedIn and it’s none of my business why you would want to but you ought to be aware that anonymity can be fleeting and you run the real risk of being exposed. Here’s the scenario – you decide to cloak yourself in anonymity and change the appropriate setting before you go off and browse. You feel confident that no one you browse can identify you and you’d be correct. Except that if you then switch back to showing your Name & Headline DO NOT visit the same Profile you browsed anonymously, because if you do – LinkedIn will switch your previous anonymous footprint(s) to your Name & Headline. LinkedIn currently allows paid users to see 90 days of browsing activity. So that person you browsed anonymously will be able to see all the times you visited their Profile, anonymously or otherwise.
SEMI ANONYMOUS, WHY?
When you opt for the semi anonymous profile characteristics, you’re neither identifying yourself nor being anonymous. Because your footprint can be clicked, you’re encouraging a hunt in your general direction. I’ve been using LinkedIn since 2008, I have yet to hear a good reason for being semi anonymous. It wastes time and could result in a false positive for the folks who use it. A person you browsed could simply click on all 10 potential browsers (including you) and you’d think that your identity had been revealed. My advice? – go full and reap all of the potential rewards of being found on a network of 300m+ professionals.
WHAT IF YOU WANT TO BE FOUND ON LINKEDIN?
It’s important to understand that Profile Completeness is a trump card in the search game. If you don’t have a 100% complete Profile, you will be invisible when searched, so do spend the extra time to add the information which LinkedIn requests. For step by step instructions on how to get to a 100% complete Profile (a.k.a “All Star” status), please read this article: Why You Should COMPLETE Your LinkedIn PROFILE.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is: who should I connect with on LinkedIn? The short answer is: everyone……who passes your connection strategy test. There are general guiding principles which I believe everyone on LinkedIn can apply and benefit from when considering whether to connect with someone. I describe my networking approach to LinkedIn as “strategically inquisitive”, this approach has worked really well for me and could also work for you. To learn more about this technique, please read: I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS On LinkedIn.
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That’s all from me for this week. Please take a few moments to share this article with your network. I read and respond to all comments.
By Andy Foote