Dear LinkedIn: Please Let Me Send Someone Who Viewed My Profile A Message

volume(yet) another suggestion for LinkedIn.

I find it interesting that a lot of the LinkedIn teacher types talk about how wonderful Who Viewed Your Profile is because these are people that have shown an interest in you etc. etc. So you should contact them.

My question is: How?

Well, if you are already connected, you can.

But if you are not, LinkedIn allows you to do is to send a request to connect to the other person. But  LinkedIn doesn’t want you connecting with people you don’t know well, and by definition, someone whose existence you are solely aware of    because they just looked at your profile doesn’t exactly qualify them as someone you know well.


If you have a premium subscription, you can send an InMail. So contacting the person who viewed your profile is wonderful advice only if you have a premium subscription. But even then there’s something odd about it costing you ten dollars (or whatever an InMail costs these days) to contact someone who looked at your profile.

So why doesn’t LinkedIn let you send a message, one time, to those people who have viewed your profile?

It could be set up like an invite to connect with the ability to customize it. This would be a great way to encourage conversations, encourage more profile views, more interactions, more opportunities to make new connections, and more time spent on LinkedIn.  

And no, I don’t think this would inhibit profile views as you can always ignore anyone sending you a message (though that would be kind of rude), or you can just make yourself anonymous.

More opportunities for interaction. What’s not to like?


LinkedIn Oddities And Conundrums

odditiesSome random oddities and questions from the last couple of weeks using LinkedIn

Every once in awhile, something odd or unexplainable happens on LinkedIn. I am not referring to bugs or hiccups in the day to day functionality of the site. I am referring to just…odd things. Like these.

Why are we all celebrating?

A few weeks back I noticed LinkedIn prompting me to celebrate one of my connections who had a work anniversary. Except for the name which I have changed, here is what it said:

“Joe Smith has a work anniversary.

Celebrating 2 years at Open to Opportunities”

Well, to start with no one likes seeing someone out of work for two years. And the Congratulations widget doesn’t help. I wonder how many people – especially mobile users – just saw this person had a “work” anniversary, didn’t realize what it was really the anniversary of, and either “liked” it or said “Congratulations!”. Ugh. Let’s all make Joe feel worse.

Thanks for sharing, but who are you?

Last month I published a post that got a lot of comments and shares. I usually try to “like”, comment back or just say thanks to everyone who is thoughtful enough to interact with my writing. And then – this is a first – I had someone anonymous share my post. How does that even work? Do that person’s connections get a notification that someone in their network – but we can’t tell you who it is – shared a post?

When is an Endorsement not an Endorsement?

This is a question of mine, just extending the thinking from the previous question. If you can share while you are anonymous (or as LinkedIn calls it these days, “viewing in private mode”), can you also endorse someone while you are anonymous? A teeny-tiny gray head and shoulders shows up amongst all the photos in your Endorsements and when you scroll over it, instead of the person’s name, it just says “This person endorsed you while in private mode” ?

And finally, proof that fellow Group members are more important than 2nd level connections.

If you do any Advanced People Searches, you are used to seeing this hierarchy from LinkedIn:

1st connections

2nd connections

Group members

3rd + Everyone else

But wait a second here. How can second level connections rank above group members when I can send fifteen free messages to fellow group members every month and zero messages ever to 2nd connections? Someone explain the rationale behind that one to me.  



LinkedIn Endorsements Have Become Important. There’s A Lesson Here

wine glassesSometimes what LinkedIn does now doesn’t make sense till later

Way back when Skills and Endorsements were introduced (yes, they were announced in late September, 2012), I did it myself. I wrote about the Facebook-ization of LinkedIn. Endorsements were frivolous. Recommendations were for serious LinkedIn users and Endorsements were just fluff, confetti to be tossed around and easily gamed. I was one of many people that dismissed it as a poorly thought out attempt to increase engagement on the LinkedIn platform.

Fast forward to the present: LinkedIn released the new version of their Recruiter platform in Q1 2016. This is LinkedIn’s flagship product, responsible for more revenue than any other, and maybe more revenue than ALL of LinkedIn’s other products put together. You have to think that the product managers at LinkedIn invest a lot of time and effort in figuring out how to improve this product for their most important customers. The new version of Recruiter has filters where users  can look for LinkedIn Profiles with specific skills – those same skills we laughed at three years ago.

If you are a job hunter, either actively looking or passively open to receiving  offers, Skills and Endorsements just became an important part of your LinkedIn profile.

Now, maybe Skills and Endorsements was a happy mistake, something that could be incorporated into the Recruiter product, so it was. But I think the more likely scenario is that it was an experiment, specifically with integration into the recruiter product somewhere down the line in mind.

Endorsements was a feature whose importance and whole reason for being wasn’t recognized for a long time.

Here’s another feature that a lot of people still don’t understand the reason for:  anonymous profile views. For a long time no one understood why users were allowed to be anonymous when they viewed profiles, and LinkedIn wasn’t saying.

Anonymous profile views anger a lot of LinkedIn users, but they make a lot of people happy. Recruiters – remember those people who use that most important product LinkedIn has? – use the anonymous feature and it makes them happy. They pay LinkedIn lots of money for the privilege. People who complain don’t make this  connection or feel that their free accounts matter more to LinkedIn than the anonymous dude’s paid account (yeah, good luck with that).

Another example is all the changes in LinkedIn Groups which almost no one likes. There is something there, a reason for all these changes, we just can’t see it yet.  We will, but on LinkedIn’s schedule, not ours.

I think there is a lesson here: LinkedIn has a roadmap. We are privy to it in only the broadest sense through what LinkedIn says at conferences or earnings calls. From time to time new features pop up that seemingly make no sense, or features and capabilities disappear or are modified – but all these things serve a higher purpose, one that we will discover somewhere down the line.

So when LinkedIn introduces something that seems frivolous, like an Endorsement feature, don’t roll your eyes and laugh at it. Instead ask yourself where this could lead. That type of thinking has me looking differently at a couple of other things LinkedIn has done lately. It has me thinking about where LinkedIn could be going, which is a lot better use of my time than complaining about a feature that looks odd on face value.