I was never too sure about the value LinkedIn brings to my professional advancement, but I joined the bandwagon like almost everyone else I know through work. My dilemma is still very much there, though: is LinkedIn worthy of having me in it?
For a while I have been having reservations about this network: do I really want my CV to be there for all to see, even the occasional Google searcher? I decided the answer is no, and asked LinkedIn to make my profile invisible to anyone I am not in contact with.
Then there is the question of whether my LinkedIn contacts want my other LinkedIn contacts to see one another. You could argue the whole idea behind LinkedIn is to connect the professional world through this virtual six (or three, in LinkedIn's case) degrees of separation. Personally I am not entirely convinced we are doing the right thing by our online "friends".
Another question is to do with the information users can buy from LinkedIn. Apparently, users who pay for premium LinkedIn accounts have access to information conventional [free] users don't. I wonder if that privileged access allows them to see stuff I flagged as private; I cannot claim to know the answer there. What I do know is that premium accounts are sold with the ability to uncover otherwise hidden information as their primary benefit; surely this means that people you wouldn't necessarily let into your backyard can sneak a peek.
Last but not least, today I had the privilege of learning LinkedIn is pulling a Facebook on us: as you can read here, LinkedIn has recently invented a privacy setting determining whether your name and photographs to be used for third party advertising. So far so good; the trick is in the default setting, which says "I allow". I truly wonder whether anyone of the millions registered to LinkedIn would consciously make this choice...
It seems to me that the main question to ask is whether the privacy issues introduced by LinkedIn are worth its potential assistance when the time comes up for us to look for another job. I am not sure whether LinkedIn offers significant privacy risks, although their latest Facebook like trick is a bit of a worry as a sign of things to come. By the same token, I am even less sure how much LinkedIn can truly contribute to my career.
Image by Adriano Gasparri, Creative Commons license