Posted by: waynebreitbarth | February 27, 2012

Your LinkedIn Network: Can I See Who You Know?

Gracias, Merci, Danke, Shukran, Dank u, Mahalo, Komapsumnida, Arigato, Maharaba, Khawp khun, Cám ơn, Thank You!   
 
As I approach the first birthday of my book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success,” I recently found out it has just passed all the competition and is the #1 selling LinkedIn book in the history of the world! How cool is that! This is only possible because people in my network have consistently shared my book with their networks. Thank you for being part of this very special group of people. 

 

Let me start this week’s tip by asking you one of the questions I asked on my latest LinkedIn user survey:

 

“Do you have your LinkedIn settings set so your connections can look at your other connections?”

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

The survey said: Yes (71%), No (10%), Not sure (19%).

 

If you are not sure, follow these steps to check out what your setting currently is.

 

view connections 

 

The default on LinkedIn is “Yes.” That is probably why most people are in that position, not because they made a conscious decision to do so. That being said, LinkedIn by definition is a networking site, and thus it is built and based on the premise that most of us want to help our connections by sharing who we know with them. This is undoubtedly LinkedIn’s logic for its default setting. 

 

This is one of the most critical strategy decisions you have to make on LinkedIn, and yet many people are not making a conscious decision about it. Others are confused about it, and thus I am frequently asked about this setting at my LinkedIn seminars. Therefore, I present to you:

 

 

FAQ: “Who Can See Whom on LinkedIn?” and Why You Should Care

 

 

Q:  Why are people hiding their connections from their network? It doesn’t seem fair.

 

A:  Most of the time they are doing it because some of their direct connections (1st level) are names they want to keep confidential (typically clients). 

 

As far as whether it is fair or not, I used to feel it was unfair. However, I then realized some people would not be on LinkedIn if they didn’t have the ability to turn this off. That being said, I am glad the control exists, because the more people on LinkedIn, the better for all of us.

 

 

Q:  If my search uncovers a 2nd level connection but our common 1st level connection has hidden his/her connections, will I be able to tell who our common 1st level connection is?

 

A:  The great news is the answer is “Yes.” That is why people who choose to hide their connections are still important people to have in your network.

 

 

Q:  What types of people are choosing to hide their 1st level connections on LinkedIn?

 

A:  These are typically people who provide professional services, such as accountants, attorneys, insurance and financial brokers, architects. I also see some CEOs and company presidents making this choice.

 

 

Q:  Can 2nd or 3rd degree connections or fellow group members ever see my 1st level connections?

 

A:  No, not unless you decide to invite them to move up into a privileged 1st level connection position.

 

 

Q:  Can I pick and choose the people in my network who I will allow to see my connections?

 

A:  No. At this time the setting applies to all 1st level connections.

 

 

Q:  Do you think I should connect with competitors?

 

A:  My quick answer is are you nuts? Would you hand over your database of your most precious business connections (including clients) to your competitors? 

 

My not-so-quick answer is sometimes relationships are much more complex than that, so you have to weigh all the pros and cons. 

 

 

Q:  What is a LinkedIn best practice as it relates to reviewing the 1st level connections of some of my 1st level connections?

 

A:  If you have some very well-networked people in your network, set an appointment with yourself to review their connections (assuming they let you) on a periodic basis. Remember–there’s gold in them thar hills!

 

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