To share, or not to share, your LinkedIn connections list
Lately, I have had quite a few people ask me how to ‘hide’ their list of connections on LinkedIn. Some want to do this to protect their business, such as a headhunter not wanting to let anyone see his potential candidates for fear that another headhunter will see them and reach out to and/ or ‘steal’ them. Others have noticed that they are unable to view the connections of certain ‘links’ and want to ‘hide’ theirs as well.
There are some valid reasons to do this, especially in the case of a headhunter or a salesperson but in general, I recommend against it.
One of the excellent advantages of participating in a community liked LinkedIn is that you are able to see not only who you are connected to and who they are connected to, but you can also view who is connected to someone you WANT to connect to. All of this is predicated on allowing everyone to see your list and their allowing you to see theirs. Once people start hiding their connections, this system is no longer as effective and the community becomes less valuable. I also think that it is a bit unfair to expect others to share their connections with you if you are hiding yours.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn does not allow you to ‘strategically hide’ your connections, allowing some to be seen while hiding others, nor do they allow you to let some of your contacts see your list while hiding it from the rest. This is unfortunate and LinkedIn could easily solve this by allowing you to create lists with varying levels of privacy (let’s hope they are listening!) but for now, it is all or nothing. Your list of links is either visible to all or none.
So, in an effort to keep LinkedIn a useful tool, I do ask you to think twice before hiding your connections. My bet is ‘all in’ but the call is yours.
That said, if you are still determined to ‘hide’ your connections, click here for a brief tutorial.
And if you DO hide your connections, or plan to, please post a comment as to why. Your comments in favor of keeping them open are also greatly welcomed!