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Why be anonymous on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn AnonymityFor people who spend too much time on LinkedIn like myself it's always interesting to see who visit's your profile however a significant part of the visitors choose to be anonymous. Why is that and who are they?


Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

I would like to know how to do it anonymously. Although I find it rather frustrating when someone does it to me. Your question prompted me to view your profile, Anders.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

It's easy to do, Chris. Go into your settings. Click on "Select what others see when they view my profile" and choose "anonymous." Although I will say ... it's akin to wearing a brown paper bag over your head when you walk into a networking event.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Proformative has many blogs, articles, discussions, courses and resources relating to LinkedIn.

Anders Liu-Lindberg
Title: Regional Finance Business Partner
Company: Maersk Line Northern Europe
LinkedIn Profile
(Regional Finance Business Partner, Maersk Line Northern Europe) |

It depends on your privacy settings. If you don't want people to see which profiles you are checking you will not be able to see who checked yours either. Although I am not sure whether you have more options if you have premium, are a recruiter etc.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I occaisionally am contacted about someone who is applying for a job with a friend. They will ask me if I can look at the profile. Since I am not applying for work, hiring anyone, and my connection to the person they are applying with is obvious, I do turn the anonymous feature on at that time. There was also a time I would troll LinkedIn to find different presentations as I considered how I was presenting myself on LI. My preference is to be upfront and let people know if I have been looking. You never know what might come out of it.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I don't believe in being anonymous, period. It's about accountability.

(CFO) |

O.K. Wayne. I'll be more direct.

Although I do agree with your proclamation about accountability, I'd also have to say that is not realistic in many circumstances.

It's one thing to stand up for principles. It's another to tilt at windmills.

I work in the public sector. Despite laws that are supposed to protect us from retaliation, speaking out about an issue in deference to what is politically acceptable by those who run the public agencies, or their politician/handlers, will result in one being shown the door in short order. Even on matters that are unrelated to the agency or the agency's mission. Like having your name show up on an opposing candidate's list of supporters.

Well, except those with union protection. Which isn't too many at the administrative level. I don't know any public sector CFOs that are protected by a union contract.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

To each their own.

(CFO) |

I agree Wayne. Wholeheartedly.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |


(Trusted Advisor) |

From LinkedIn:

If you have a Basic free account, you can choose not to show your name and headline when viewing other people's profiles. Important: When you choose not to be seen by others, you also won't be able to see who's viewed your profile.

If you've chosen not to show your information, but you later change back the setting to show your name and headline, you'll temporarily see the 5 most recent viewers of your profile in the past 90 days. When someone else views your profile, the 90-day history is erased and it starts over.

The only way to always see the full history with a Basic free account is to always show your name and headline. If you upgrade your account, you can see all viewing history as well as additional viewer statistics from the last 90 days.

Note: Upgrading your account will not reveal the identity of anonymous viewers. We'll always respect a member's choice to be anonymous.

Hunter Robinson
Title: manager
Company: self emplyer
(manager, self emplyer) |

anonymous from linkedin:

i am new to linkedin and in the process of creating my profile. i'd like to change to anonymous to view profiles as i am looking for work and want to view potential 'for hires' so i can know backgrounds for insight in interviews. i i viewed a few before i found out i could go to anonymous, went to anonymous and then changed back to 'full view' with name, etc.

when switching to anonymous, did it delete any views i had done while 'public'? i read online that if you switch to anonymous it deletes your viewing history and no one can see you viewed them, even when you were previously 'public'. is this correct?

also, if when i do switch back to public, will it show the viewing history again, or once it's deleted is it gone forever?

thank you,
h. robinson

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |


Bringing it back around:
-Some LI makes you pay to see (so you will give them more money; they will point this out where it is the case)
-Some are, like Sara V., trying not to send the wrong message, or;
-Similar to Sara V, but trying to avoid sending the correct message (I'm looking for a job, etc).
-Some are recruiters who are doing the whole cyber-stalk thing.
-Some are actual stalkers (identity thieves, etc, for whom LI is a great resource).
-Per Wayne, it can be annoying and seem unethical;
-Per Anon, a lot of us don't have a choice in the matter, or feel that we don't, and treasure anonymity where we can find it for fear of (make a list). Some of that is just paranoia, some of it is real and present, and even the paranoids have risk (see stalker above).



Bob Dupree
Title: IT Global Senior Project Manager/PMO
Company: Tronox
(IT Global Senior Project Manager/PMO, Tronox) |

If you're going to use LinkedIn, then be who you are. Why hide? I don't get it. LinkedIn is a great tool in my eyes and a great way to network if you're not afraid to.


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