I'll show you my LinkedIn network, so why hide yours?

I confess to being a reasonably active user of LinkedIn for several reasons

- provided everyone keeps their own contact details up to date, it provides an easy way for me to keep my address book updated when people move roles
- it uncovers relationships I would otherwise have never been aware of between people I know
- it helps me to develop new business relationships via warm introductions

There are many features I wish it had such as highlighting to me via a volume ranking those people who are known to many of my contacts, but whom I am not connected to - implication being it is probably someone I should meet/talk to. Likewise, something akin to the Facebook friendwheel and TrustedOpinion facilities would be most useful in highlighting relationships.

However, the one thing I don't understand though is why people keep their LinkedIn contacts/network secret. Ultimately everyone on LinkedIn has chosen to publicly post their details. It's also a networking site, which usually mean that people are making themselves available to be approached. Moreover, in accepting an invitation from someone it usually means you aren't ashamed to be associated with them and hence it can go on public disclosure.

Whilst there are no prizes or glory in having many contacts, I am intrigued by who people are connected to and it often sparks new conversations. Moreover, people who can facilitate introductions to the mutual benefit of those introduced will always be valued.

So what is the rationale behind hiding your network?


posted by John Wilson @ 5:16 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, this is how it is. There are those of us who are highly selective in who is in our network or in what we do for a living. It's the same in real life. If want you to know, I'll volunteer the information. If not, I won't for my own reasons.

As long as there is still privacy in this country, I'm going to use it to the utmost.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger John Wilson said...

But why bother using LinkedIn in that case? Why not just use Outlook to keep contact details. LinkedIn is a networking site whose purpose is to help build/develop your business network via trusted relationships.

The use you describe strikes me as being "selfish" in two ways - you get to peruse your contact networks without reciprocity and you do your contacts a disservice by not allowing them to meet each other via your introduction as they can't even identify the link.

Re "If you want to know, I'll volunteer the information..." how would anyone even know to ask you or do you want to receive random "spam" requests?

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You (well up to recently) were one of those who hid their contacts on Linkedin.

You were building up your network but not sharing that with anyone who connected with you.

Good to see you've had a change of heart but perhaps your post should have disclosed you are a recent convert?

At 2:23 PM, Blogger John Wilson said...

You're mistaken. My LinkedIn network has always been available to be inspected by my connections for the reasons I've described.

But to return to the main point, why do hide your network on a networking site; how do you or your connections benefit from this; why use LinkedIn?


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