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Giving it all away on LinkedIn

If we were ever to meet at an event, in a networking meeting, a conference or in a coffee shop would you give me all of your client’s details and/or a full set of your personal information?

Of course you wouldn’t! That would be commercial suicide and personal data protection would go out the window! So why do you do it every time you connect with someone you don’t really know? Or worse still when you connect with a competitor?

Every level one connection, i.e. those you have invited to join you or have accepted invitations from can see your personal details on LinkedIn (address, telephone, birthday etcetera) and if they wanted to all your connections – so next time you get an invite from someone you don’t know – pause, remember this post and perhaps think before you click.



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  • Nigel Warmington

    Hi James. Happy New Year to you and yours. Are you aware of the inadvertent iPad connectivity problem? Because the iPad requires you to touch the screen to scroll down it is perfectly possible with big heavy hands like mine to inadvertently hit “connect” on an unknown LinkedIn member. What I find worse than that is the people who have no idea who I am willingly accept my inadvertent invite to connect. This exacerbates the risks you refer to. Even worse still, I have had some of those same people recommend me for certain skills. How can they do that without knowing a thing about me? Tends to devalue this part of LinkedIn for me. Thoughts?

    • Completely agree Nigel, in fact had a connection recently for exactly that reason.
      I am not a fan of the iPad app, it is an evolved mobile client, you are much better just using the browser and the normal web client I think.
      The endorseing of skills is a challenge, I know I get it to, many people “play” at it and endorse skills they really shouldn’t. If you go to the skills section, edit and then you can remove the ones you are not comfortable with, which is what I do.
      Best wishes,
      James
      The Linked In Man

  • LinkedInJapan

    I disagree James.

    a) Personal Details section (& many others) can be hidden or shown to all, 1st or no connections
    b) You can leave it blank
    c) You can use a free webmail account for you email address
    d) you can hide all you connections for browsing, and focus more on what you DO on LinkedIn and less on being found – a basic profile sharing only what you’re comfortable with, coupled with a proactive and genuine interaction, trump ‘tweak a profile & then hope’ and ‘only connect with people you know, only connect with people you know, watch out!’

    e) The internet is all about information; information overload and bombardment actually. It’s all about ‘Filters’ in my view, and LinkedIn has multiple levels of Filters, with ‘1st level Connection’ to someone just one.

    • Thanks for the kind comments and I thought it best to respond to the level of detail you have shared.

      a) Currently this functionality does not exist and as far as I know, which is not all, there are no plans to change this. If you know something I don’t please do drop me a note, but in all the countries I have worked in I have never seen this so far and would in fact be contra to some of the founding principles.
      b) and c) Yes indeed, completely agree, but if you don’t it is there, thank you for the additional clarity.
      d) I am glad that you focus on activity, not just profile, it is indeed a very common mistake. As there is noted in other blogs here it is about a profile, the right strategies and the right actions.

      But you do have to consider that if you hide all of your connections to everyone you know it sets a behavioural flag to them, I want to network with you and all the people you know but I am keeping mine – approach this with caution. Why would you want to hide your connections anyway? The only profession that I have come across with a genuine need to do this is headhunters (and I don’t work in the recruitment field ever) and high end security personnel, for obvious reasons, but then their LinkedIn use in total is bespoke.

      e) I think this point relates to b) and c) it is about what you put out there, what you manage and perhaps what you filter, but then surely the easiest way is just to be you and then you don’t need to worry about it? The first level connection filter you mentioned in a) and here and I’d be intrigued to hear more of this as I said before it has never made an appearance in the tens of thousands of profiles I have seen so far, but as you will appreciate I am sure LinkedIn evolves at a fast pace, at least once every 48 hours.

      Thanks for the comment and look forward to hearing more of the filter and what country you spotted it in.

      Best wishes,

      James

      The Linked In Man