On Facebook my colleague and well-respected career expert Susan Whitcomb asked if there was a way to block people from seeing updates in LinkedIn. The typical scenerio is that someone starts a job search, and wants to NOT broadcast that to their network. They might update their resume, post an “update” on the homepage, participate in groups, etc…. how do you block individuals from seeing what you are doing?
The short answer is, YOU CANNOT.
This question about privacy reminds me of my IT security professor back in the 90′s who said that if you want or expect any privacy, UNPLUG your computer from the internet. Period.
You really shouldn’t have any assumption or expectation of privacy online, ever.
In LinkedIn, there aren’t any foolproof ways to shut people out of what you are doing. In fact, you can’t even do that in Facebook.
Let me give you an example. Facebook has more refined personal privacy options than LinkedIn does, partially because of what Facebook is for and what LinkedIn is for. Anyway, even with the very tight privacy settings in Facebook, it’s possible to *think* you are ranting privately, and you kind of are. But what if one of your “friends” shares your rant with someone you mutually know, who you have blocked?
The rant isn’t so private anymore, is it?
What if they take a screenshot of your rant and post it on a blog?
Not private at all, huh?
You can have all the locks in place, but as long as humans are involved, there is potential for social engineering, which means that your update you thought was private is now shared in the lunchroom and boardrooms of your current company.
Are there security options in LinkedIn to block? Kind of.
Should you trust them? Only if… well, actually, NO. NEVER.
But what if you aren’t connected with anyone at your company?
Um… let me explain how LinkedIn works: it doesn’t matter!
They can go to LinkedIn and still see some (most) of your stuff. They can also do a search on Google and find some (most) of your stuff. LinkedIn, by it’s nature, is a place to find and be found, to be visible, to share your brand, experience, etc. It’s not a place to hide stuff. That’s what a diary is for (you know, the book you write stuff in, and it’s not connected to the Internet!?).
Like I said, there are some technical privacy tools in place, kind of … BUT none of those matter as long as ANYONE in your network might share what you posted with their contacts… who just might be your boss you are trying to hide from.
I get David Safeer’s newsletters, and this was had an idea that was too good to not share. David is a management and leadership consultant – read about him on the front page of his site. He’s done a very nice job communicating who he is and why he is relevant to his right audience.
In his most recent newsletter he shares his “business principles,” which are business principles “to achieve outstanding performance.” It made me wonder, what are my business (or life, or marriage, or father, or entrepreneur, or CEO, or product manager, etc.) principles?
He says he wrote these almost ten years ago, and that reviewing them now, there are NO changes to make. To me that indicates they are indeed principles instead of tactics, which can and usually should change over time. Go check out his list – it really reads like a short book on how to do better in business.
As I read his list I had three thoughts:
His list is about people and relationships, not about numbers. He says: “I am convinced that people are THE key to a successful organization, so my thoughts about business principles turn often to the people side of things.” Where do your thoughts about your principles turn?
Can you create your own list of principles? This could be like a personal business plan, or map, that helps you make decisions and be true to yourself. What would be on your list?
Once you have a list, this is a great way for you to stay relevant. How? Read on…
Being relevant is an interesting concept. When I started JibberJobber I thought people would talk about me and JibberJobber for a long time. I got interest and buzz at first, but then things died down, and I found I had to continually put something interesting and/or new in front of people. I wrote a book on LinkedIn, and that did it (for a while). But then 40 other people wrote books on LinkedIn, and I wasn’t THE expert anymore. I was losing relevance. I had to do other things, which I did. I still do other things to stay in front of people and try to stay relevant.
Why do you think LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook make so many changes to their systems? Some are good and needed, others are simply to get press.
Think about this for YOU. What can you do to remain relevant with your audience?
Don’t get me wrong, this is not just a branding/networking thing. I think having guiding principles is AWESOME. I encourage you to work on your own. And, use what you come up with as a reason to get back in front of your network contacts and create a bit of buzz or conversation.
Yesterday I wrote a post titled Why You Shouldn’t Message Me On LinkedIn. The main argument was LinkedIn’s lack of auto-reply feature, which means that even if I set up a vacation message in my email, I can’t do that in my LinkedIn messaging system (aka, inbox). Note to LinkedIn: if you are going to “fix” that, please let me also create an “email signature”…!
Anyway, in the comments, Lamar asks about sending gmail messages, and getting those bounce back. He argues that his gmail activity is less reliable then sending messages via LinkedIn…
SO WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?
Let me clarify that I’m not solely talking about technological success (whether the message you sent was actually received in the person’s inbox). I’m talking about whether the reader will actually see the message. Having something sent to the mailbox, but filed in spam or junk, is a failure. In my opinion, sending something to someone’s Gmail account and having it not be in the Primary tab is a failure. I use the Gmail corporate service for my JibberJobber email, and I find that too often my @JibberJobber emails are not received by the recipient, because their email spam filters don’t like Gmail’s DNS servers (and perhaps other things that Gmail is doing). That is lame and unfortunate… Gmail should clean that up. BUT, there are too many factors (like the 3rd party email blacklists, which sometimes are created by some shady guy with no ethics and a chip on his shoulder, working in a poorly lit apartment with energy drinks and empty pizza boxes strewn around his lonely room). Nothing you can do about that. Too bad corporations give his input any value
In communicating with a human being, though, the real issue comes down to asynchronous communication.
Has anyone ever said something like “why didn’t you do that think I asked you to do? I texted you!”
Um, maybe because I didn’t get the text?!?!
But I texted you!
Sounds like a weak argument, doesn’t it?
When you really need communication to happen, you need to confirm it happened. Just because you texted someone doesn’t mean that (a) their phone registered the text, and (b) they say the text.
In a face-to-face conversation (or phone call, chat, etc.) you have someone who says something, and someone else who can respond immediately. Even if it is through body language, the response, or the conversation, is “occurring at the same time.”
If you want to know if someone heard you, you can ask “did you hear me?”
If you want to know if someone saw your text/email/message, you could ask them. Or you could wait for them to respond. But you can’t assume that any asynchronous communication is going to be received and read (much less responded to) immediately.
Check out this quote, in an article talking about asynchronous communication:
“Sometimes people have to wait hours, days, and even weeks to get a response to a message or feedback…”
It really doesn’t matter what method of asynchronous communication you use, there will always be the element of a gamble (did the user get the message??).
In yesterday’s post, I recommended you not send me a message through LinkedIn, if you really want to get a response from me (or have me see your message). But really, any other method, except face-to-face, will have similar risks. I just find that my email is much more reliable than the LinkedIn messaging system, and how my email system interacts with it.
Which gamble are you going to take?
And how can you ensure your communications are being received and responded to?
Last week I was out of the office all week. Two weeks earlier I was out for an entire week. I was at camps with my kids and really didn’t have access to anything online.
I dutifully set up my “out of office” messages in my two main email systems, knowing that anyone who sent me an email would have known that I would take a few days to get back to them. Unfortunately, I got a number of messages through LinkedIn’s messaging system… and those people didn’t get any message to let them know I was unavailable.
They just got radio silence. Sounds an awful lot like being ignored. Or that I don’t care to respond.
LinkedIn is cool, for sure. But it’s not the only tool you should use. Use email, or the phone, but don’t solely message people through LinkedIn.
If you don’t know someone’s email address, GET IT. If you have it, USE IT.
The other reason I suggest you don’t use LinkedIn for primary or important messaging (if you aren’t doing important messaging, don’t send the message!) is because messages from LinkedIn don’t get in front of me very often. A while back Google (Gmail) decided they needed to sift my email into three groups (they could have just named tabs 2 and 3 SPAM, right?):
Guess where I spend most of my time?
The “Primary” box.
Guess where your LinkedIn message goes?
NOT the “Primary” box.
Don’t use Gmail, so that’s not an issue? I suggest you check out your spam or junk folder, and see how many LinkedIn messages are in there. That should be proof enough that you shouldn’t depend on LinkedIn for sending messages.
Want to get on my radar? EMAIL ME directly.
Sending me a message through LinkedIn is a gamble.
My call with Fred Coon was awesome. There were a lot of gems throughout this call. I have two regrets:
We didn’t have more time. It seems like Fred just skimmed the surface on an 8-step plan… I think we could have talked for hours more. BUT, what he was able to share in 90 minutes was a great foundation for anyone.
I asked Fred, impromptu, to provide a little banjo music in the back while I wrapped it up. He did, I wrapped up, and I mistakenly stopped the recording when I was done instead of when he was done. I’ve never been banjo’d before… it was very cool
Below is our conversation. I encourage you to take notes, and if you want, let us know what impacted you most, and the minute mark of that impactful moment, so we can get to it easier.
Enjoy! (vimeo provides a full screen option comes on after you click play, but there is no visual… you can put this on while you do something else (like take notes?))
This question comes up all the time when I do presentations on LinkedIn. There are a few different options, depending on the message you want to give (“I need your help…!” OR “I have expertise in this, and oh yeah, I might be open to looking at other opportunities” and everything in-between).
Recently I was talking to Nick Jenkins, a senior operations manager based out of Austin, Texas. Nick has deep experience with the telecom industry but, as we were talking, he was explaining his passion to move to a few other industries (still within technology), including mobile stuff, cloud computing, etc. Nick likes being in the leading edge tech space, which is what he navigated over the last 15 years in telecom.
As we were talking I had a thought: Your LinkedIn profile tells me you are actively looking, but nothing in your profile tells me you are not married to the telecom industry. In fact, everything there indicates you kind of want to stay there. What if you let me know you are open to non-telecom stuff?
I shared this idea with Nick and here’s what he changed to clarify his position (being available for new opportunities, and what he is open to). I think this is the best way to communicate this stuff.
First, the Professional Headline. Nick’s main message here is “I’m a professional! Here are my passions and what I bring to the table!” Instead of focusing on “I’m looking for new work,” which is NOT his brand, he focuses on what he wants you to think of when you think about him.
Next, the Current Title. He makes it very clear that he is actively looking.
Now, when I got on the phone with him, this was all that he had done. I listened to what he was looking for, and open to, and then I compared that with his profile… and therein was the problem: Without having a conversation with him to know he was looking for a career even outside of telecom (or inside of telecom, but not limited to telecom), you probably wouldn’t know that he was open to it. I suggested that he use the job experience are and tell people more about what he is looking for. His summary is the typical “here are my strengths,”… but nowhere did he say “I’m open to non-telecom opportunities.”
The takeaway for me was that I assumed, based on his profile, something that was wrong. After talking with him I understood more, and I encouraged him to share that on his Profile (to remove bad assumptions).
I challenge you to state what you do or want to do, and then read through your profile and see if they are aligned.
This is from July 2010, on my LinkedIn blog. It is a really short post about that uber-important branding statement next to your picture on your LinkedIn Profile.
The post took a life of it’s own when people started asking for feedback on their headlines. Fortunately, Peter Osborne jumped in to respond to people… I finally had to close the comments before it became a full-time job!
Here’s the post - click hereto read the excellent comments:
I came across Håkan’s LinkedIn Profile and I LOVE something he is doing with the formatting. What he is doing gets around something that bugs a lot of people…. they want real bullet-point formatting!
Alas, for the last many years, and even today, LinkedIn doesn’t allow hardly any formatting in the long description areas. But check out what Hakan has done:
In #1… how did he get that bullet? In #2, how did he make the lines below the bullet indent, the way that bullets are supposed to?
Very, very simple. I blogged about it on my LinkedIn blog here. Scroll down on my profile and you’ll see a bunch of bullet icons you can copy, and then paste to your own Profile.
Okay, so we got that, right? How do you make the line below indent to the correct place?
You simple put enough spaces in. Really. You “hard code” spaces in. With your space bar.
If I mouse over and select the space from the left of the page to where the line starts, I can see there are individual spaces there. There are 5 spaces before a bullet point and 8 spaces before each line under a bullet.
It’s that simple… but the results really stand out, and are easier to read.
This entire profile also works because Håkan uses the underscore (_______) to make visual line separators throughout his profile, which makes it easier to read.
He’s put a lot of effort into his profile, from content to formatting, and it clearly shows. Great job Håkan! Click on the image below to see his entire profile: