On my personal Twitter, I’ll follow just about anyone and let most people follow me. Twitter is about common interest. On my Facebook profile I’m a little more cautious about who I’ll allow to see my information, but am still reasonably open. Facebook is about relationship.

LinkedIn is different. LinkedIn is almost exclusively used for business relationships with some sort of commercial interest attached – so it’s smart to be a little choosy about who you let see your stuff, and who you’re seen to be talking to.

Which is why my first impression of an email offering the following if I start paying for “Premium” LinkedIn wasn’t all that positive…

  • InMail: Contact anyone on LinkedIn without an introduction – response guaranteed! (i.e. LinkedIn “Premium” users are now free to send unsolicited email to whomever they want… Something LinkedIn has been refreshingly free of.)
  • Expanded Profile Views: See expanded profiles of everyone on LinkedIn, even people outside of your network (i.e. Bye-bye privacy… What if my expanded profile is only visible to my network for a reason?)
  • Who’s Viewed My Profile: See the full list, learn how they found you, and more (i.e. Analytics on searchers who’ve found you… I can see the usefulness of this, but how will it impact those who are searching? Cyberstalking case in the making perhaps?)

In general people don’t want EVERYTHING to be a secret (otherwise social networking wouldn’t exist…), we just want the right to choose what is shared and what isn’t.

It seem to me that LinkedIn have seen the opportunity that lies in essentially SELLING access to people’s information to people like recruiters, bosses, the media and so on… and are capitalizing on a “Premium” market who wishes to circumvent the privacy settings you’ve established around your professional information.

Quite frankly I don’t like what I know of it so far. I’ll do some more research on this – I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.

If you have the down-low on how to prevent “Premium” LinkedIn member from peeking up your social skirt, please share in the comment below. LinkedIn, you are more than welcome to set the record straight if you feel I’ve got this wrong.