LinkedIn Strong-Arms User Settings

Would you like to see who’s been viewing your profile?

Then you’ve got to reveal your own name to others when you view their profile.

That’s another change that appeared on LinkedIn recently.

Let’s compare with what I wrote last year…


LinkedIn has had a “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature for a while – I covered it in “Who’s Been Sitting In My Chair” last year.

It was an interesting, but perhaps not-as-useful-as-hoped feature.

You got to see full names, anonymized (but guessable) information, or nothing – depending on the privacy setting of the viewer.

With a basic (free) account, a half dozen individuals appeared – with an upgrade, you saw more. (but not better information)

Another stealth release

And again, you won’t find this blogged about on the LinkedIn site, it seems part of a revisionist approach to get a “new perspective”.

Hey – it’s LinkedIn’s site, and they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do.

Moving forward

As of today, in order to see the results in this feature, you’ve got to set your own privacy such that everyone sees your name when they look at who has viewed their profile.

You still have the option of setting your privacy to full name, anonymized (but guessable) information, or nothing, but here’s how it goes:

  • Full Name – the site records visitors to your profile, you can see their information (based on their privacy setting), and everyone can see your full name if/when they look at who has viewed their profile (and you have in fact viewed their profile;-).
  • Anonymized (but guessable) Information – the site records visitors to your profile, you cannot see any information, and everyone sees only anonymized information about you when you look at profiles.
  • Nothing – the system does not record visitors to your profile, you cannot see any information, and no one sees any information about you when you look at profiles.

Notice the hitch – if you don’t want to participate in any way, the system is turned “off” for you…

That makes me believe some users of the system didn’t want to let it be known that they viewed profiles, but also wanted to see who was viewing them! (and LinkedIn stepped in and changed the rules)

Getting forceful with users

This is a switch in tactics, I don’t recall seeing LinkedIn push users to do thing one to get thing two on the site.

“You’ll get this nice feature at the cost of some of your privacy”

I don’t particularly care about this feature so much, but this change concerns me – perhaps if it “works well” for them, they’ll use the same strategy for other features…

Modest workaround

As you might expect, users have an easy workaround – leave your settings as anonymized normally.

This will record for your profile, and give out only basics about yourself when you view profiles.

Then, when you want to use the feature, enable the full name display – but when you are done, return to the settings page and reset to the anonymized view. (LinkedIn says “you can change this setting back at any time”)

It seems to me that LinkedIn is expecting most users to simply leave the full name setting there after using the feature…

Perhaps on viewing connections

There is one aspect to the system that I have always lobbied for a change in: viewing connections. This topic made the LinkedIn Personal Trainer blog site as one of my early posts – “A Matter of Trust“.

If you connect to someone that you know and trust, LinkedIn has a reasonable default setting – you can see that person’s direct connections. But users can turn this visibility off.

I’ve always wanted a “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine” setting for this aspect – so that if someone does not trust me to see their connections, I don’t allow them to see mine;-)

This is a bit different in that this is a setting between people who have agreed to connect – and not a setting for random users of LinkedIn. And perhaps I won’t object to that change if/when it happens…

Other changes…

Well, it seems I’m going to have to go back into a testing sort of mode to figure out what other changes might have been released – if you spot something that appears different, I’m always happy to take a lead;-)

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock


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