Don't Be a Dead End on LinkedIn
In a recent post, I provided details for how people could connect with me on LinkedIn. Since then, I've come across a situation that I hadn't expected, and as bloggers are prone to do, I'm going to write about it.
The premise behind LinkedIn is that you can use it to maintain connections with people. As a central repository of connections, you don't have to worry so much about when people leave their current employers and their e-mails change. But to me, the greatest value in the system is being able to connect with my contact's connections. These second-level connections have the potential to open doors that I wouldn't even be aware of. Likewise, my contacts get to leverage the people I've connected with.
So I was disappointed recently to find out, quite accidentally I might add, that some people are setting up their LinkedIn accounts to hide their connections from view. What's the point then, I ask? Why should I give you the benefit of seeing everyone I've connected with while you are the online equivalent of a dead end road? So having discovered that one of my recent connections was indeed blocking their contacts, I decided to sever the connection.
The closest I've come to finding a good reason for someone to block their contacts is to “protect” their contacts from unsolicited e-mails. In one case, a person felt that since she was a services vendor (yes, I'm being purposefully vague) having her contacts viewable would result in sales people attempting to contact them. I'm not sure that I buy that reasoning since the cynical part of me figures that she's looking to benefit from the system without adding any value of her own. Having said that, at least this person clearly stated in her invite that her contacts were private along with her reasoning for doing so. Full disclosure is always nice.
"Why should I give you the benefit of seeing everyone I've connected with while you are the online equivalent of a dead end road?"
Erm, no. The equivalent of that would be changing another setting related to introductions. This is not. In fact, if you stumble upon a 2nd or higher degree connection through them you still get all the benefits. You just don't know beforehand who's connected to them.