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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.

THREE SETTINGS
You can choose from 3 settings in ‘Account & Settings’ >’Privacy & Settings’ > ‘Manage’ > ‘Profile’ > ‘Privacy Controls’ > ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile’. Here’s mine:

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(1) NON ANONYMOUS: “Your name and headline (Recommended)”
(2) SEMI ANONYMOUS: “Anonymous profile characteristics such as industry and title”
(3) ANONYMOUS: “You will be totally anonymous.”

NON ANONYMOUS is self explanatory and the default setting – if you join LinkedIn and don’t change the Setting, you will always be identified by your Photograph, Name & Headline. It’s recommended by LinkedIn because it delivers maximum engagement between users.

SEMI ANONYMOUS can be fairly specific OR incredibly vague, depending on how someone has filled out the Sections of their Profile, but bear in mind that the Semi Anonymous Profile visitor icon can be clicked, for example:

 

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ANONYMOUS always looks the same and the icon cannot be clicked:

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BEWARE! ANONYMITY CAN BE TEMPORARY
You may have perfectly good reasons for being Anonymous when you browse 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 temporary and you run the real risk of being exposed if you don’t understand how LinkedIn works. 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 NON ANONYMOUS, DO NOT visit the same Profile you browsed anonymously within a 90 day period, because if you do – LinkedIn will switch all of your previous anonymous footprint(s) back to your Name & Headline. LinkedIn currently allows paying (Premium Subscription Members) users to see 90 days of browsing activity.


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 of the potential browsers (including you) and you’d think that your identity had been revealed. My advice? – go NON ANONYMOUS and reap all of the potential rewards of being found on a network of 400m+ professionals.


YOU CAN (AND SHOULD) DO MUCH MORE WITH YOUR HEADLINE

Here’s the deal: you are boring…..by default. Yep, LinkedIn forces you to think conventionally by automatically inserting your (boringly functional and unremarkable) job Title in your prominent and most widely seen Headline space. This is a problem if you think about yourself in branding terms. If you are the brand, your Headline is your brand’s slogan. Now ask yourself are you proud of your slogan? Is it what you’re all about? Does it actually achieve anything? If the answer to those questions is no – there is something you can and should do about it. Come up with something unique, something so stunningly original that makes people think, smile or better still, act. Here are 3 of the best ‘stunningly original’ LinkedIn Headlines I’ve seen in a long while.


WATCH OUT FOR FAKES

LinkedIn is the premier business networking platform with 400m+ registered professionals but be cautious when deciding who to connect with – some of those connection requests could be from fake profiles. 3 Stunningly Good LinkedIn FAKE Profiles shows you 3 real life examples of fake profiles, tells you what to look for and explains why some people fake it on LinkedIn.

 

QUESTIONS & LINKEDIN CONSULTING
This article is a top search result for all things related to anonymity on LinkedIn. Many readers contact me to ask questions. Unfortunately, due to time and work constraintsI’m unable to answer your questions related to anonymity on LinkedIn via email. If on the other hand, you want to HIRE me, I’d love to hear from you! I can write your summary & headline, optimize your profile and help you to fully leverage LinkedIn.

 

Contact me now: linkedinsights@gmail.com / 773.469.6600 to get started.