LinkedIn Anonymity….so what?


I am tipping that this blog is not going to be very popular, especially around the recruitment community…..

Every now and then my LinkedIn stream goes a bit nuts with people complaining that their profile has been viewed anonymously. One person puts up a post that they have been viewed anonymously and there is a flurry of ‘here here’, often followed by passionate demands that LinkedIn remove this function. Amongst all the controversial topics surrounding recruitment, it seems as though this is right up there.

So is it just me then who thinks…so what?

I’ll go a step further and say it is a good thing that this function exists.

For example, if I am doing a search, it is likely that a number of the profiles that I view will work for the same company, in the same team, sitting next to each other. “That Luke Collard just checked me out on LinkedIn.” “Yeh, me too.” And me.” “Me also.”  It’s probably not a good look and makes more sense initially to be anonymous until I know who I want to speak to.

Similarly, a person that I have approached will probably want to check me out first, but not want me to know that, until they have qualified me as someone worth talking to. Fair enough.  I think there are probably lots of scenarios and legitimate reasons.

The biggest complaint about profiles being viewed anonymously seems to be that it beats the whole point of what LinkedIn is for…networking. But is that really what LinkedIn is for?

For me, LinkedIn is more a sourcing and research tool, than a place to effectively network. It’s a great place to find people and information, and somewhere that you might make an introduction and possibly have a bit of an initial chat with someone. But it’s not really networking…you can’t do that effectively sat behind a computer screen. If the “it’s just not networking’ argument is your issue then maybe you need to re-address your definition of networking….or what you are using LinkedIn for.

I really don’t understand what the problem is and I definitely don’t get why some people get their knickers in a twist about it, even to the point of being angry. When you Google someone’s name, which I often do for the same reasons as looking them up on LinkedIn, I don’t feel a need to call them and tell them I am doing it. Same thing?


Luke Collard  


7 thoughts on “LinkedIn Anonymity….so what?

  1. Steven Craig on Reply

    Luke, I agree. Linked In has become a research tool and quasi news source not a networking tool (whether you are a recruiter or not, and I’m not). However, why inform the user at all that they’ve had an anonymous view? I find it really annoying as well. Facebook doesn’t alert you when someone looks at your profile and that doesn’t detract from my experience as a Facebook user. If the person viewing my profile wants to be anonymous then let them be 100% anonymous. Love the Blog BTW.

    1. admin on Reply

      Thanks Steven – that makes perfect sense. (not the bot about loving the blog…but thanks anyway!). I have asked LinkedIn what their official line is on why they have this anonymity feature and what they see the purpose of it to be, and will post their response.

    2. Guillaume Pacteau on Reply

      That makes sense. Should be 100% anonymous, even though LinkedIn may argue that this way you get a true reflection of the traffic on your profile… particularly if you are (or could become) a premium user…

  2. Tim Rishworth on Reply

    Hi Luke. While I agree with many of your points, I would challenge your view that LinkedIn is not a networking tool. Many people, particularly recruiters, use LinkedIn to build a network of contacts with whom they wish to do business at some point. Hell, even the default LinkedIn invitation refers to it as “…my professional network…”. For what it’s worth, I find the anonymous viewing of my profile mildly irritating and nothing more. That said, I did ‘Liked’ the OP’s message so read into that what you will!

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