Reverse Peeping Tom or how I started to think about LinkedIn

I have two confessions to make. The first one is that I’ve been too lazy to write anything here on my blog. You know, blame it on papers you need to write, meetings you need to attend, and beers you need to drink etc. But anyhow, the second confession is much more interesting.

To put it bluntly, I’m far too often checking out who’s viewed my profile on LinkedIn. Hence, I call this phenomenon Reverse Peeping Tom x LinkedIn.

This, quite naturally, raises at least two questions (I decided to leave the most dubious questions out of the picture for now): 1) what are you talking about? and 2) what’s the point?

To answer the first question, I need to show a short video clip.

So, Peeping Tom basically deals with a guy who’s slightly – shall we say – perverted. Or in other words, watching people without them knowing it. A classic case of voyeurism. And this phenomenon has now travelled to LinkedIn where people can see who has viewed their profile. Other people viewing your profile – that’s (non-sexual) voyeurism. You checking out your own profile in order to see who’s viewed it – reverse voyeurism.

So you know that they know that you know that you’re watching them as you’re watching you. That’s what Reverse Peeping Tom x LinkedIn is all about.

But the second question, “what’s the point?”, is a bit more tricky to answer. The truth is, I do not know what the point is. Why should I care who views my profile? Should I engage in business talks based on that? Or should I connect with someone just because they were viewing my profile? Or even better, should I start fine tuning my profile based on what kind of people are checking out my profile?

Otherwise I’m rather content with LinkedIn – hey, at least they’re not messing around with their users like other services – but I just don’t get what purpose does this “see who’s viewed your profile” option serve. If your answer is purely functional and instrumental, seriously:

But if your answer deals more with the human mind, then I’m listening. This is certainly a matter of bio-techno engineering, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

What do you think, why does LinkedIn make it possible for its users to see who’s viewed their profile?

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