Many regard LinkedIn as the “safe” social network—there are no games that jeopardize your privacy and you aren’t posting incriminating photos of last weekend’s Halloween party. But that’s no reason to ignore the privacy and account settings that LinkedIn has in place.
You can find your list of settings by clicking on your name on the top right of the screen and choosing Settings. This list includes profile settings, e-mail notifications, home page settings, personal information, privacy settings and more.
How much of your profile have you made public? Are all of your tweets being pushed to LinkedIn? Can others see that you’ve viewed their profile? If you’re unsure of these answers, take a look at the following five privacy settings and adjust them appropriately.
1. Public Profile
When your LinkedIn profile appears in public searches, how much of it can people see without logging in to LinkedIn themselves? That’s what the Public Profile settings tell you. By default, visitors have access to your entire profile—your picture, summary, current positions, education, website, groups and more.
If your intent is transparency, the full view is recommended. However if you’re not looking to disclose all of your information, go to the Profiles Settings section and update by unchecking the profile features that you don’t want displayed publicly. You can find this setting under the Profile Settings section.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com’s LinkedIn Bible.]
The Public Profile settings section also has a feature similar to Facebook’s where you can make changes and view your public profile as others will see it.
Another feature on this settings page: customized buttons. If you’re looking to add a button to your blog or website to promote your LinkedIn profile, this page will give you the code for several different ones.
2. Member Feed Visibility
Your personal feed on LinkedIn displays Network Updates from actions you’ve performed on LinkedIn. These might include an announcement when you update your work experience, join a group, add a new connection or post a recommendation to someone’s profile.
You can find this setting under Profile Settings. Member Feed Visibility gives you four settings to choose from. Your LinkedIn actions can be visible to everyone, only those people in your network, only your direct connections or nobody (which means your member feed won’t be displayed). If you prefer that your LinkedIn actions are private, choose one of the latter two settings.
About a year ago, LinkedIn and Twitter announced a partnership that lets you tweet your LinkedIn status or stream your tweets to your LinkedIn profile. While this feature can be handy, you need to be careful: Generally, many experts advise that you should not send all your tweets to LinkedIn because not all of them might be business-appropriate.
To find out whether or not you are posting all of your Tweets to LinkedIn, choose Twitter Settings under the Profile Settings section. Here you can add or remove a Twitter account, choose whether or not you want to display your Twitter account on your LinkedIn profile and decide whether or not you want to share all your tweets or only the tweets that contain the #in hashtag. Here, you can also adjust how you want your tweets to appear (i.e. with a picture, title page and short description).
Located about halfway down your LinkedIn homepage on the right-hand side is the box “Who’s Viewed My Profile,” which gives you two statistics: how many times your profile has been viewed recently and how many times you have appeared in search results recently.
Clicking on this link will bring you to a page that displays vague statistics related to who has viewed your profile, such as “Someone at XYZ company,” “Someone in the technology/new media function in the Greater Boston Area” and “Vice President at XYZ company.”
Visit the Profile Views setting, found under the Privacy Settings section, if you want to adjust how you appear to others when you visit their profile.
You have three options: You can have your name and headline included (which also will display your picture and current title); you can be displayed anonymously with only profile characteristics such as your industry and title; or you can be invisible to the users you have viewed.
5. Authorized Applications
Last November, LinkedIn opened its APIs and launched the LinkedIn Platform, which lets developers integrate LinkedIn into their business applications and Websites.
Since then, you’ve probably tried some of these apps and granted sites access to your LinkedIn profile. You can find a list of these applications and partners under Authorized Applications in the Privacy Settings section, and remove them accordingly.
Removing the applications from this page will remove them from your LinkedIn home page, profile page and prevent any further access to your LinkedIn data. If you only want to remove them from your profile page, choose “Edit My Profile” and click the remove link next to the title of the application.
The same goes with the external Websites that you have granted access to your profile and network data: removing the access here will prevent them from accessing your LinkedIn data. If you want to re-enable them in the future, visit the Website and grant access again.
Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.