Last week I would have argued that LinkedIn is my favorite social network. It has managed to stay clean. It doesn’t try and do too much. It’s always business. Where I often waste time on sites like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn has always provided me a tremendous amount of value:

  • Get more context on new business contacts
  • Find out what old co-workers and classmates are up to
  • Get a feel for who’s putting themselves on the job market

This week however they’ve ruined one of my favorite features and quite frankly, it’s killing me. On the right hand column you’ve always been able to see who’s looking at your profile. Is it recruiters? Is my boss keeping tabs on me? It’s great.

Most people have historically been dumb or lazy enough to not change their privacy settings so you could see the name and company of those looking at your profile. On the other hand, as long as you had the correct settings, you could search and scan all of the profiles you needed to without leaving a trace of identity.

LinkedIn has ruined this great functionality for the sake of…revenue. So now, you have to upgrade to a premium account to stalk people. If you’re cheap and/or broke and you want to see the folks that are evaluating your profile, you have to give up some info on yourself as well; at the minimum, your name and company.

So now it’s like a virtual networking event with none of the accustomed anonymity that we love about the web. You have to actually share information about yourself and…”talk” to people. Not exactly what I signed up for.