LinkedIn's Version of Seenzoning

Image Source:  Sprout Social

Image Source: Sprout Social

Facebook and Instagram aren’t the only forms of social media that will notify you when someone has read your message. Olivia Locascio debates whether LinkedIn’s new ‘Who Viewed Your Profile’ feature is a blessing or a curse.

Facebook and Instagram are undeniably the most popular forms of social media worldwide. Despite serving mostly different purposes, both have absolutely no problem with openly crushing your self esteem by exposing who exactly has deliberately ignored your message. The business form of social media LinkedIn has also jumped on board with their own version of ‘seen’. Your notifications can reveal to you who exactly has viewed your profile.

It’s like catching someone’s gaze that has been lingering on you for a far too lengthy period of time. But in some cases, you might want this particular person’s lengthy gaze. The ‘Who Viewed Your Profile’ feature displays your profile visitors in the last 90 days, and can provide additional trends and insights about viewers. But the biggest difference between LinkedIn and Facebook/Instagram in terms of this feature is the class distinction it enforces upon users. The free version only allows users to see the last five users that have scanned their profile. If you want to see anything more, you have to upgrade (by paying) for LinkedIn Premium. Kinda weird, right? As an active LinkedIn user, I’ve explored just a few of the positive and negative implications behind this LinkedIn’s ‘Seen’.

Image Source : Intero Advisory

Image Source: Intero Advisory

It essentially indicates how ‘interesting’ your profile is.

LinkedIn users are either on the search for a new job, casually looking for opportunities, hoping to grab a side gig, or even just looking to grow their professional network. Knowing who’s viewed your profile allows you to observe how your LinkedIn activity affects your profile engagement. Profile completeness and updates, content you post, share or ‘like’ can drive your profile views up. Obviously, the more views you get in those 90 days, the more interesting your profile is. And vice versa, if there aren’t many views, then your profile is lacking. Consider LinkedIn as your personal PR tool. There’s no need to exaggerate. No one will enjoy reading some elaborate, poetic description of your duties as a bartender, or a sales representative.

Image Source : Petra Fisher

Image Source: Petra Fisher

Someone from your dream company can view your profile.

That’s fundamentally the point of LinkedIn, isn’t it? To get discovered by a company or companies in the industry that you are dying to work in. Best to check and see if the company itself has posted any jobs that suit what you’re looking for. Might as well connect with that person now that they’ve checked you out! Another feature of LinkedIn allows users to send personalised messages to people that they want to connect with. In this case, you don’t want to write a message that’s overly complicated. There’s nothing wrong with introducing yourself, or even being (politely) forward with exactly what you want from them. Even if you’re not actively applying for jobs, you can still connect with the person who viewed your profile, so that they are up to date with what you’re doing and looking for.

Image Source : Kurt Shaver

Image Source: Kurt Shaver

But, does anyone actually do anything with this feature?

If someone I know that’s not an employer has a look, I honestly think they clicked on my profile by accident. Or I might think they’re interested in checking out the competition. If someone you don’t know lands on your profile, this is generally because one of two things happened: someone referred you, or you stood out in a LinkedIn search. People, generally employers, don’t look at LinkedIn profiles to pass the time when they’re bored. According to statistics found in 2014, Forbes found that the ‘viewed my profile’ feature is the most popular by a long shot. Even though it has nothing to do with job searching or actual networking. But why? I’ve never heard anyone actually take any action when they’ve read that someone has viewed their profile. It seems that the ‘viewed my profile’’s main function is a mere self esteem boost for users.

Image Source:  Official LinkedIn Blog

Image Source: Official LinkedIn Blog

It’s too easy to accidentally stalk someone.

LinkedIn is not the form of social media for absent-minded browsing, that’s for sure. If you react the way you do when you see someone has viewed your profile, whether you know them or not, then you know others will react if they’ve seen you have a little stalky-stalk of their profile. But still, there is a function to it. If you see someone that you don’t know with an interesting headline, then it might be worthwhile to have a look at their progression in their industry for inspiration. It’s generally known to avoid clicking on people’s profiles if you don’t plan on connecting with them. Not that it’s easy to make enemies on LinkedIn anyway. It is possible to change your settings so people won’t know you viewed their  profile. However, this option won’t let you see who has viewed your profile. It seems like LinkedIn is offering all or nothing.

LinkedIn poses as essentially an online resume, and as such, users should make the effort to talk themselves up where necessary when it comes to their skills and abilities. If you’re looking for an easier route to a new job, websites like SEEK, Indeed and Jora do not require as much effort in setting up a profile. Where LinkedIn differs is that it also has its very own unique settings and features. Ultimately, the ‘who viewed your profile’ feature  seems like a beneficial feature, as it requires users to stay active in their job searches. The stalkerish vibes, admittedly, do take some time to get used to.

Olivia Locascio is a last year Communication student majoring in Journalism, and penultimate year Law student. She’s got her whole future planned out: columnist, author, screenwriter, and Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay. Watch out for this one.