You may have noted that LinkedIn seems to have succumbed to an attack of the measles … green measles to be precise. For some they arrived last year only to disappear for a while, but then returned last week once again and are now back with a vengeance. For others, you may be seeing them for the first time and wondering what they signify.
Don’t worry, they’re not contagious. However, they do potentially offer us some valuable focus for our interactions on LinkedIn – so let’s get to the nitty gritty of what they are all about!
What do they mean?
This is part of the LinkedIn system that is called the ‘Active Status’ indicator and quite simply it shows when your connections are actually logged into the site and, to a certain point, also when they were last active.
They come in two forms:
- The presence of a solid green ‘disc’ or ‘circle’ (for want of a better word) next to someone’s name means they’re currently on LinkedIn and will be instantly notified when you send them a message;
- The presence of a green ‘ring’ indicates that someone is actively logged in on their mobile and has push notifications enabled so they’ll be notified when you send them a message.
There will also be an indication in the Messager area of when they were last active, if it is just showing that they are on with their mobile.
Where do they appear?
You’ll start to see these markers at a number of places around the site – these may continue to increase and have certainly been changing recently to reflect the differing places where we are likely to interact – or want to interact – with our connections.
Some of the main ones include:
- On the Personal Profile page of your 1st level connections – again, just to re-iterate – they will not appear on everyone’s profile, just on those you are connected to and can communicate with;
- On your homepage, alongside an update that they have initiated or one that they have shared;
- In the pop up info boxes (when you hove over their name);
- On comments that they leave on either your or someone else’s updates – again, these will be mainly visible when they appear on your homepage;
- In your Messager area next to their name in the left hand side bar where your most recent conversations are listed;
- In the Messager pop up box which appears at the bottom of your screen and again shows the connections you have most recently been in dialogue with.
As you can see, this is already quite a wide spectrum and it is repeated in similar locations on the mobile app as well if you are searching there.
Can I control them?
Yes, absolutely – like so much on LinkedIn, we do indeed have control over whether we participate in these pieces on functionality. Therefore, if you prefer, then you can then turn these off wholescale or for individual connections as well if you like.
As with most things, this all happens in your Settings and Privacy page at:
There is a downside if you decide to restrict people’s visibility of your own status, and that is that you won’t be able to see other people’s either … so it’s reciprocal. If you decide to turn the top setting off, then this essentially disables the whole system for you on both sides. If, however, you select individual connections in the 2nd half of the screen then that will only affect your visibility to those individuals, not across all your connections. A granular approach that I hope will be extended further across LinkedIn during the course of the year.
How might I use them?
Well, while I would never suggest solely targeting messages simply on the basis that someone is on line, there is obviously a benefit in knowing that someone is currently active on LinkedIn – either at that particular moment in time or active in general – and so be able to prioritise the LinkedIn communication over other possible streams.
Getting in front of people when they can read and hopefully reply in that instant, definitely has its advantages and lends itself to developing conversations which could lead to face to face meetings. In my own traveling around the country while training, I know that on trains (and particularly in rush hours) my phone will be on and I am able to reply to an initial message on LinkedIn when I may not have the other distractions around me. Essentially, you have my attention in that moment and that may be just the chance to develop an opportunity.
So, if active status can help with that first contact and help me to get a conversation started then I, for one, am a fan!