This week, LinkedIn made more changes that make it harder to maintain your privacy. Much like earlier this year when Facebook abolished its setting that allowed users to be "invisible" to those outside their network, LinkedIn is following suit.
Up until a few days ago, you could click on "Who's Viewed My Profile?" on the homepage to see who has checked out your page. Every user has always had the option of customizing what another user saw when that link was clicked. There were three options: 1) A user could display his/her full name and LinkedIn headline, 2) The user could show anonymous profile stats, such as industry and title (the most popular option), or 3) Users could be invisible so no one could track their activity. With the new changes, if you completely give up the right to see who's viewed your page, you can maintain the "anonymous" or "invisible" option. What that means is you must choose option #1 of full disclosure if you want to continue to see who's checked out your profile.
my Twitter page. I don't know who they are. Many people visit my blog and, again, I don't have their exact names and job titles. Same thing with Facebook. So, LinkedIn is the first of these networking sites to mandate a looky loo setting.
The site's argument is that if I can now see that John Johnson (who I don't know), director of PR at Gamble's Gizmos has looked at my profile, I can send John a note saying, "Hey, noticed you checked out my profile. What's up?" Talk about calling someone out! Personally, if I look at someone's LinkedIn page, I certainly don't want him or her to shoot me an email to ask why. I obviously have my reasons and if it's important, I'm going to contact the person regardless.
I know the privacy line is continuing to shift in this age of social media. I know that if you utilize any of these sites, you are agreeing to make many aspects of your life public. However, the fact that LinkedIn (and previously Facebook) have offered settings to ensure privacy and then yanked them away bugs me. I mean, gosh, a stranger can't see my search history on the internet, so why is my search activity on LinkedIn now public?
I admit, I have a stronger opinion about privacy than most of my social media peers. However, this is also about choice. If someone wants to maintain some aura of privacy, why can't they? Do we really have to know all the activities and habits of every Tom, Dick, and Harry? I mean, really, must everything be broadcast to the world?
If someone looks at my LinkedIn profile, they have their reasons and if they choose to contact me, I welcome it. However, I have no intention of hassling that person to inquire why. Will you?