I had an interesting conversation the other day with an engineer from a recruiting job search company, when he posted a complaint in the Linkedin Q&A about recruiters calling him. He was saying that they were getting his name from his Linkedin profile and calling him even though he says in the profile to not call.

I tried to tell him that he was being naive to think they wouldn’t call and he was getting mad at being called naive. He said that he was the customer and that they should do what he wanted. I tried to explain to him that he was not the customer of Linkedin he was the product. He didn’t want to believe that. Then I asked him what would happen to the traffic of Linkedin if everyone changed their name to a screen name or something like John FULinkedin?  My guess the traffic would plummet because the real customers of Linkedin, the recruiters would not have any reason to make all those page views anymore.

Linkedin has lulled the users into thinking that as long as they only connect to people they know, then their privacy will be maintained.  But all it takes is for one person in their 1st degree connection to connect to a super user, and wham their profile is available to all headhunters. So even though they say to not link to alot of people just to increase the size of your network, they know that there are groups out there like toplinked with people that are connected to 39,000+. At least Facebook limits the number of friends you can have to minimize that kind of stuff. And it is no surprise that some of those topLinked list make a living by training recruiters how to find the most people on Linkedin.

So if you are in a high demand profession and don’t want a lot of annoying cold calls from recruiters, you might want to consider changing to a screen name in your Linkedin profile or getting out altogether. There are a lot of other ways to keep in touch with your close friends besides LI. You need to determine if having the equivalent of your name on the bathroom stall is worth the trouble. And oh by the way it is search able for your particular skills.