Should you browse LinkedIn anonymously? What do you think about anonymous profiles?
Let's talk about a controversial setting in LinkedIn called, “Who’s Viewed My Profile?” This setting controls what is shown to LinkedIn users whose profile you have viewed.
To be accused of stalking someone is strong language, but I agree. At least have the decency to tell the other LinkedIn member what company or industry you’re from. Help me figure out why some LinkedIn members will activate that controversial privacy setting?
In my opinion 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 and browse. You feel confident that no one you browse can identify you and you’d be correct. Except that you then go back to your settings and switch back to showing your name & headline.
If you then visit the same profile you browsed anonymously, LinkedIn will switch your previous anonymous footprint to your name & headline. The lesson? Browse anonymously forever but if you decide to stop being anonymous, don’t re-visit the profiles you browsed when you were HIDDEN. LinkedIn currently allows paid users to see 90 days of browsing activity.
When you opt for the anonymous profile characteristics (PARTIAL), you’re neither identifying yourself nor being anonymous. Because your footprint can be clicked, you’re leading a not so merry chase. It’s an odd way to do business and does you no favours. My advice? – Go HIDDEN and don’t waste anybody’s time or go FULL and reap the potential rewards of being found on a network of 225m+ professionals. Don’t be a deer in the headlights; make a decision – get off the road or go with the flow.
So, are you ready to jump out of the shadows by changing your setting to “visible?” or do you have a different point of view?
Digital & Social Marketing Manager
I'm open with my profile on LinkedIn as I tend to only browse profiles that have caught my attention and am happy for people to see that I looked at their information. If they are curious to know why, I'm also happy for them to contact me and ask.
I do know several recruiters/head hunters who use the anonymous setting so you are not aware you're being 'considered' - often this is because the organization they are with doesn't want to be seen to be interested in you. As you say however, this is only as good as the time they remain anonymous.
Thanks John for the positive insight coming from your angle. To add on, my advice is to focus on the positives. I say this because it totally nails your professional online identity. It allows you to be present 24/7 even whilst you are on the beach. Your “bad” if you don’t take advantage.
The crucial point here is that even if you decide to go totally-Anonymous or ‘cloaked’ as a Basic member, your identity in actuality is only partially hidden. “Someone on LinkedIn” is blue and can be clicked. When you click on this, you get to see 10 Profiles, one of these folks is the so-called Anonymous browser. So the Kimono has been lifted. Paid LinkedIn members not only get the benefit of seeing who has browsed them in the ‘Profile Stats’ section regardless of their meta-visibility choice, they are ALSO guaranteed complete anonymity – “LinkedIn Member” is greyed out and cannot be clicked.
So, my word to the wise – if you truly need to be Anonymous on LinkedIn, you had better get a paid account.
If LinkedIn was a real-life networking event, how would you react if you saw these “Anonymous” behaviours?
Cyber Netiquette represents the importance of proper manners and behaviour online. In general, cyber netiquette is the set of professional and social etiquettes practiced and advocated in electronic communication over any computer network. Common guidelines include being courteous and precise, and avoiding cyber-bullying. Netiquette is a short form of Network Etiquette or Internet Etiquette.
The more LinkedIn member netiquette rules there are, the more civilized LinkedIn as a professional networking social platform will be for everybody because the human mind strives for order. Rules give us order. Within LinkedIn, it is a good cyber netiquette to act as you do in reality on the internet. Ask yourself whether or not you would do it, say it, or write it to one of your real friends or associates. If you have to ask yourself this question whatever you are thinking of is not something you would do in reality.
It is a proper LinkedIn member cyber netiquette to be yourself online because you are not always a LinkedIn “anonymous” and others users are real people too. Do not try to be LinkedIn “Anonymous” online that you would not do in reality because you cannot be taken seriously if you do. Your online image is important. Don’t ruin it by being someone “anonymous” you’re not. You are who you are in life. Everyone has the power to change their ways. Your ways are your own. If you don’t like who you are, then change your ways and become who you want to be.
“Anonymous” LinkedIn Member – Who are you and why do you choose to be “Anonymous” on LinkedIn to some of us?
1) They could be a person on LinkedIn that simply does not know that is how they have their settings set up in the first place.
2) They could be a professional friend you used to work with that has a terrible LinkedIn profile and is just trying to see what it is like to have a better profile.
3) They could be a person afraid to have a public profile because of fear of their employer seeing it and taking measures to make their life miserable. I am sure nobody has ever heard of this happening before.
4) It could be a competitor of your managerial position just checking to see what you are up to- if that is the case take it as a compliment.
5) It could be that employer checking out your profile to see if he or she fills the types of positions that they have openings in and if they could be of assistance to them.
6) It could be someone looking for help with media & publicity interviewing or whatever your expertise & forte may be.
Most could care less who this elusive LinkedIn masked crusader could be within our very own professional network but we are more interested in why they choose to keep their status as “Anonymous”. Who else this “Anonymous” LinkedIn Member could be?
Stalking on a social networking site is a key sign that a network is user engaging, in my opinion. I have no objections to being open in my profile. It is like an online resume. After all, the ultimate aim is to extend profile reach to as many people as possible.
Cassidy is totally right - it nails your professional online identity. In any case, there's always the account settings section and the save changes button :)