LinkedIn Privacy: A Cautionary Tale
17th February 2018

We all know that LinkedIn privacy isn’t something that should be taken for granted, Or do we? I’m going to tell you a little true story about my friend’s recent and somewhat mortifying brush with LinkedIn. 

My friend, shall we call him Boris for the purposes of anonymity, recently joined LinkedIn for the first time.

Like the virgin LinkedIn user he was, he stumbled around in the dark, trying to find out what went where and how to make things work. More confident, Boris became curious and then downright nosy. Spurred on by recommendations from LinkedIn of people he might know Boris found himself having a sneaky peek at people outside of his usual professional circle. He had a nosy at other parents from his son’s school, one of the new teachers, neighbours, an ex-girlfriend or two, as well as previous employers, neighbours and a new arrival to the town he may or may not have a tiny crush on.

Imagine Boris’ horror when the next day he received an email notification to say that someone had looked at his profile on LinkedIn. Up until this point, Boris hadn’t realised that unlike Facebook, LinkedIn privacy is less of a priority therefore when you visit someone’s profile for a nosy, they receive a notification. Mortified to the point of no return Boris did the only thing he could do. In a panic, he changed his name on LinkedIn to Gloria, changed his town then deactivated the account.

I must confess that when Boris called me to tell me what happened (and why the hell hadn’t I warned him about transparent profile searches?!) I did what any good friend would do. I laughed. I laughed so hard that I snorted and had to hang up for a minute to recover. Oh, my dear Boris!

Boris was now concerned that people would see (historically) that Boris had viewed their profile, clicked for a nosy all of their own and would find that he had changed somewhat. Changed jobs, changed addresses and changed gender. Through my tears, I managed to convince Boris to go back, reactivate the account and ditch Gloria. He’s hoping that picking up his son on Monday won’t be too awkward considering he’s LinkedIn stalked pretty much everyone he knows on the schoolyard as well as many of the teachers. I’m guessing Boris’ next donations to the school’s PTA-arranged event will be more generous than usual.

The moral of this story? Don’t be like Boris. Read LinkedIn privacy terms and conditions properly, make sure that you don’t post or do anything online that may come back and bite you on the backside in real life and remember that LinkedIn is not in any way shape or form the same as Facebook.

Never change Boris!

Nicki Cawood, Nicki Cawood Copywriter,
Nicki Cawood is The Small Business Copywriter.

Established in 2006, she has provided copywriting, editing, rewriting, blogging support and more to many many small businesses. 


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