Maintaining privacy while networking
April 14, 2011 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Can I use LinkedIn and still maintain a modicum of privacy online?

I'm getting out into the job market and I feel like I'm missing out by not being on LinkedIn. But Mr. Moojoose comes from a messy, high conflict divorce that is nearly 10 years in progress, and as a result we are very protective of our privacy online. There's a lot than can be inferred about me that I would prefer to keep from prying eyes that would go on a LinkedIn page. To be plain, I don't want her knowing my work history, where I work now, or even to be able to make a guess at how much money I might make. Nothing nefarious on my part, I just don't trust her or want her being a part of my inner circle.

So, do I just have to resign myself to being left out of LinkedIn? Because it seems like putting up lots of privacy guards on such a site would defeat the purpose (admittedly, I'm not sure what those are on LinkedIn). Tell me how I can still network online but maintain my privacy!
posted by moojoose to Work & Money (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
LinkedIn has two prime functions: it acts as a self-updating "contacts" app for many people, and is also a way for professionals to engage online networking.

The purpose of online networking in the context of LinkedIn is that you can connect with peers and discuss common problems and trends in your industry. If you are self-employed, you can use LinkedIn to develop your reputation as a subject-matter-expert, which is helpful for attracting new work, or reassuring prospective clients that you are all you say you are.

Still, the plain, straightforward elements of networking are useful too. It's great to be able to stay in touch with people as they change jobs, and continue to cultivate relationships that may not result in anything more than going out for a beer or a coffee.

If you don't need either of these two features or functions, you're not missing much by not being on LinkedIn.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:44 AM on April 14, 2011

Best answer: You will still benefit from using LinkedIn with privacy guards enabled. You'll just have to do much more of the initiating.

At minimum, it is a valuable tool for when you want to talk to someone and aren't sure how to get the introduction. That is information that has nothing to do with whether your profile is visible to those who are not connected to you.
posted by michaelh at 11:26 AM on April 14, 2011

Best answer: Yes, you can join LinkedIn without your Ex being able to view it by playing with the privacy settings. It's easy to make it so only "friends/connections" can see the details of you profile.

Even without sharing details like career history, you can still share a personal summary with the world.

I would start an account, populate it with dummy information (pretend jobs like "Professional ox Cutter"), and play with the privacy settings until they make sense for you. Then you'll be comfortable filling in honest information.
posted by jander03 at 12:16 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Be cautious when you set up the account - many of what seem like privacy defaults are actually premium-account walls. Someone with a paid LinkedIn account sees many more details of non-friended people than you can see of such people if you have a free, or no, account.
posted by MattD at 4:11 PM on April 14, 2011

I agree with MattD. I deleted my linked in account after i googled myself to check what information of mine was out in the internet, and found that all of my work and school history - which was clearly lifted from linkedin - can be found on many other third party sites that i have no control over. I have no way to get that information down, but deleted linked in to stop this from happening in the future.
posted by kmr at 8:45 AM on April 18, 2011

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