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Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 technology  research  practice

A Technology Tip

  • Technology

Social media tools allow people to look at your profile information. By tweaking privacy settings, you can limit what people see by type of information (e.g., contact info, friends list, education, etc.) and degree of connection (e.g., friends or direct connections only, friends and friends of friends, everyone, etc.).

LinkedIn offers an interesting twist: you can see how many people have looked at your profile, and in some cases, you can even see their names.

As a LinkedIn user you should appreciate other LinkedIn users can see that you have looked at their profile. In many cases it may not matter, but in some it might. If you are doing some competitive intelligence research on you competition or if you are an HR person or headhunter you probably don’t want people to know you are looking at their profiles.

To see how many people have viewed your profile, look in the Who’s Viewed Your Profile? box (3rd box down on the right side) of the home screen. It will say “Your profile has been viewed by # people in the past # days.” This line is a link. Click it you can see the names of up to 5 people that have looked at your profile over the last few days or the last week.

In some cases actual names will be listed, in some cases you can see a description of the person by industry and location (and if you click on that link you can see a list of 10 names that include the specific person), and in some cases it will just say “Anonymous LinkedIn User”. By changing LinkedIn privacy settings you can control whether people will see that you have looked at their profile. Full display of your name is the default setting.

Go to your LinkedIn setting page. In the Privacy Controls section (middle of the screen) there is a “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” option. Click on it to see your three options:

  • Your name and headline (Recommended)
  • Anonymous profile characteristics such as industry and title
  • You will be totally anonymous.

Note that the first option is the default and the “Recommended” suggestion is from LinkedIn (as they would like you to be more open about sharing your information). Pick the setting that makes sense for you and click on Save.

Note that if you have an upgraded LinkedIn account (you must pay extra for this), you can see a list of everyone that has looked at your profile (unless they have changed their Privacy Controls setting) and the names of people who turned up your name in search results.

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