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Over the last couple weeks as I’ve been planning and working on the re-launch of LinkedInPersonalTrainer.com, a number of people have asked me some good questions about LinkedIn.

This one seemed to make a great first post…

One of my connections was wondering about a recent group of requests she received – professionals wanting to connect with her – and each had restricted viewing their own connections. She wanted my thoughts on why they would do this.

As background for the unaware – by default, LinkedIn allows direct connections to “see” who else connects. That is, when I connect with Mary, she can see who else connects with me.

LinkedIn allows me to take this visibility away from all of my connections. That is, no one can see who else connects with me. (There is no middle or selective ground, it is one or the other setting)

What this all about?

Let me share the rationale for why someone might do this…

It’s all a matter of trust.

Let’s suppose for a moment that you connect to a competitor, and don’t want to share your customers – you might restrict your view…

Let’s suppose for a moment that you are a recruiter, and your “product” is the people you connect to. If you share that, other recruiters might “poach” your connections…

Let’s suppose you connect to a wealthy and powerful business person, you might not want the rest of your connections to see that…

And finally, let’s suppose you’re in the financial or legal realm, connecting to a client might be a fact that only the client can divulge. (but in accepting a connection, the client has agreed)

Trust

In most cases, it’s because an individual doesn’t trust the people (or a portion of the people) they connect to.

In response, if they can’t trust the people they connect to, I’d have to think long and hard about wanting to connect to them;-)

So there you have it. There are some odd situations and I’m sure some people have completely valid reasons why they might want to restrict the view, but for the average person, they’re saying they know (and connect to) someone that they don’t want you to know about…

That’s an individual choice. Me – my connection list is open…

Within your control

Every LinkedIn user controls this behavior (you’ll find the setting under “Account & Settings -> Connections Browse”), and while you can’t control anyone else, you do have complete control over your own account.

Me – I’d like LinkedIn to adopt the “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine” setting that lets me be equally secretive about my own connections in response;-)

Does it matter to you?

steve