Hiding Your LinkedIn Connections? I'll Probably Dump You.

Controlling the visibility of your connections is an option LinkedIn offers. I discovered this when I scanned the connections of an existing LinkedIn contact and found them hidden, except for the few connections we shared.  Why would I be scanning this guy's connections?  For new connections, of course. Scanning someone's connections is like going to a networking event at his home or office.  The reverse is true when someone scans your connections; you're inviting them into your social world - in LinkedIn's case - your professional world.  That's what social media platforms are all about - connecting through others.

So hiding your connections from your LinkedIn contacts is the equivalent of inviting your friends to a networking event, but telling them to sit in a closed room where they can only talk to people that you both know.  Who needs that?

Thinking this through I wondered ... what's the advantage of being connected to this guy through LinkedIn?
  • I can have his contact info?  I already have that. 
  • I can send him Inmail?  I have his email address - he's a client.  
  • I can have access to his full resume?  Big deal.  
  • I can see what he posts in groups?  I don't check groups much. 
  • I can read his posted updates?  Yippee.

Conversely, I consider the benefits he gets by being connecting to me.
  • Access to my almost daily updates?  (okay, probably not a big plus for him)
  • He can check out my 500+ connections, many of whom are in networks similar to his, and see whom he might add to his network.  
  • He can get introduced to key people in my network through me.  
  • He can expand his LinkedIn Network by some 57,600 people - because that's how many I have in my network 2 degrees away today.
I'm sensing some benefit imbalance here, and while I hate to admit it, this irks me. I'm thinking, "What's he got in his less than 120 connections that's worth hiding?"  It's not worth the effort to bring this to his attention.  He's a client. Being or not being connected on LinkedIn isn't worth straining the relationship.

So, I will most likely disconnect him as a contact. 

I suspect my reclusive contact, is concerned that his competitors may find potential customers when scanning his connections. But his competitors would have to be his connections to do that (LinkedIn only allows those connected to you to view your contacts).  So he's worried that his connections might "connect" with each other?  That's the foundation of networking. 

These platforms aren't called "social" media for nothing.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and even blogging are all about sharing info and connecting with others.  So if you remove the connection benefit by hiding your contacts or friends, you decrease your own worth as a connection. And on LinkedIn, that's a big decrease.

If you're worried about your competitors seeing your connections, don't connect with them on a social media platform.

Reclusive contact ... Consider yourself dumped.

Consider becoming a fan of Mindie Burgoyne's Facebook Page on Social Media - Viral Networking.  


  1. Mindie, very well put. I have a Linked In account, but haven't done anything with it since I first logged on a couple of years ago. I should probably go back and delete it, since I don't keep it up. Thanks for your always insightful comments. ~~Lelanda

  2. erica9:40 AM

    Agreed it's called networking for a reason! If you're going to hide don't setup an account. I love LinkedIn never know who you will meet next...and chances are if your competition is doing their "homework" they will know your clients, etc.

  3. Anonymous1:54 PM

    I don't agree. I'm not on linked-in to see other people's contacts, I don't even care about them. People that get along with the people I get along with in industry are not necesarily people I will get along with, to the contrary. If you use linked in just to keep in touch as an online address book, there's nothing wrong with hiding your connections. Thatlinked-In wasn't thought to work like that, hey, that's not my business, I also hammer nails with heavy screw drivers and the screw driver seller is not getting angry with me. After all, the customer is always right.
    (I'll place this anonymous to make it worse!:-))

  4. If I go for a beer with a colleague or someone I meet on a conference, I don't expect him/her to give his/her address book either. To the contrary, it would be rather unpolite to ask that and most probably not serve me for anything.
    So, why should I suddenly expect that on LinkedIn? I hide all my connections, it's better for my, but also for their, privacy.

  5. Thanks for the comments Erica ad Lelanda. It makes you wonder why someone would sign up for LinkedIn if they were going to hid their connections. I'm thinking ... can't you see that you bring little benefit to your connections if you won't share.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment.

  6. Anonymous3:54 AM

    This blog is being censored

  7. Anonymous - I assume (perhaps incorrectly that both of you are the same person) - the blog is not censored, just set to not automatically post comments on my posts that are over 3 months old. It's a SPAM protection.

    Secondly I thank you for taking the time to comment and welcome disagreement if it occurs.

    LinkedIn in a social media platform meant specifically for networking. It's not a private roladex or address book. If you use it that way, that's your choice, but it's not the purpose of LinkedIn.

    For those using LinkedIn for its specific purpose, the connections are the best part of networking. It's meeting new people through other people - just doing virtually instead of at a physical event.

    Those on LinkedIn voluntarily put their information on the network. They voluntarily enter into participating in a social network. Why bother being on LinkedIn or any social network if you don't want to share?

  8. Anonymous9:49 AM

    This blog is NOT being censored indeed. I apologise for my premature post, it just took quite long before I saw my answer appearing, while other new ones were showing up.
    Sorry for that!
    I, nevertheless, look forward to more opinions.