By now I am sure you will have figured that what I am talking about is that tiny section in the right hand panel of your LinkedIn home page entitled 'Who's viewed my profile'.
It may only be a small section but boy is it popular! When we see it we can't help but click through to see who has been looking, human beings are just naturally very curious like that - we just HAVE to know! So we click through, excited by the prospect of seeing all these people who have found our profile interesting enough to want to read all the wonderful facts we have put about ourselves plus all those glowing recommendations (see previous post) but ALAS! all we get is a list like this;
- Someone in the professional coaching industry from the Greater New York City Area
- An Associate at Acme inc (which has 20,000 employees!)
- Someone in the Leadership function at XYZ plc
- Someone in the Leadership function in the Accounting industry from United Kingdom (well that narrows it down then!!)
When we click on one of the these all that occurs is a very wide search of the keywords mentioned in the description - normally giving us a list of thousands of potential users who may have been the one to view our profile.
Is this some kind of strange LinkedIn game called 'Guess the name of the user who viewed your profile'? I can just imagine the copy used to advertise this game "which of these 600 Associates at Acme was guilty of daring to click on your name and view your profile? - click here to start guessing"!
Well if you are equally frustrated by this rather pointless process then maybe you can help because every user has the opportunity to remove their 'mask of anonymity' - simply by changing their settings.
There are 3 settings you can use - the default is what you see above 'Only show my anonymous profile characteristics, such as industry and title' which is, quite frankly, pointless - the other 2 settings make much more sense (see below)
To get to the above page go to 'Accounts & Settings' and under 'Privacy settings' you will see 'Profile Views'
Now I believe that visibility is a key factor in your success online - ensuring that your activity on LinkedIn is noticed is not just about how much you do but also by how open you are about it. Hiding your name from users whose profile you have viewed is simply wasting an opportunity to highlight who you are and what you do. There may be occasions where confidentiality is called for - in which case simply select the 3rd option (above) and then revert back the first option once you have viewed the profile (as I have done above).
Networking (on or offline) is not about secrecy - it's all about sharing and helping each other. Users who hide information are like 'LinkedIn Hoodies' - they may be really honest, good people but the hood makes us suspicious!
So remove your Hood and start really networking!