The next day when I saw him in another session, he took out his phone to show me something he’d discovered earlier in the day. When looking at his own profile on LinkedIn, he happened to glance at the section titled, “Your profile has been viewed by:”. Though the site aims to obscure the identity of the person — using job titles, company names, industries, and locations in lieu of names — their algorithm doesn’t always do the best job. Sometimes they reveal visitors from one-person companies, one-person departments, or just generally people who are very easy to identify.
The latest visitor to his profile:
A compensation analyst from his own company!
I couldn’t help myself but burst out with laughter. It slay me for two reasons: 1) I’ve never worked for a company large enough to actually employ someone with the title “Compensation Analyst”; and 2) Given the sensitivity of the role, they might want to be a bit more stealth about their research.
Eric was suddenly overcome with sense that he’s being watched — because he is.
LinkedIn, it’s time you thought a bit harder about what you display in the Your Profile Has Been Viewed By… feature, and consider the repercussions of what some people may see there.
Rule #1 of User Experience: Don’t cause pain.