Since I started on LinkedIn, the site has always recommended that you only put your email and contact information in the official places – phone number goes in the phone contact field, email address in the email field and so on.

I could see the logic in that – there were automatic settings available to hide these from anyone that you weren’t connected to so the control was there. The trouble is that I wanted to be contacted by people I wasn’t connected to … that was my raison d’etre for being on the site.

If I had piqued their interest with something I had written, a comment I’d left or just what was in my profile then I wanted them to be able to get in touch, so I added my email address in particular to my Summary section so that it was visible to all.

Not exactly within the strict guidelines of the site but practical for what I wanted to achieve.

How did it work for emails?

The rule for your email address in your Contact Information was that if you were connected to someone then they could see your email address and if you weren’t, then they couldn’t. Nice and simple. The email address they saw was the one you designated as your ‘Primary email address’ which you could nominate via your Settings page if you had more than one – which I certainly would recommend by the way, for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere.

Now, we have much more control.

Early this year, as part of the GDPR initiative, LinkedIn allowed us additional control over displaying our email along with making this section of the profile much more visible, Double bubble!

This can be altered from your Settings page at: https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/privacy/email and the options are as displayed below:

The previous default of “1st Level connections” still remains as an option, but this has now been joined with options to hide it all together or open it up to everyone.

What should I choose?

What’s my take on this? Personally, for people in my situation and business developers in general, the challenge is to be found so “Everyone on LinkedIn” is the obvious choice. However, we have to recognise that this is in public domain and that may not be comfortable for everyone to go the whole hog so perhaps that next level opening ie. 1st and 2nd level connections is preferable.

What are your thoughts?

My passion is helping companies and individuals to use and APPLY LinkedIn more effectively - that is to use it to develop new business, find a new role, to market yourself, your company and products ... whatever your reason for using LinkedIn is! I run internal workshops for companies looking to bring their key people or teams up to speed and run public courses around the UK.