I was reading a book the other day about mysteries of the universe. There were chapters about — and alleged photographs of — UFOs, crop circles, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, and honest politicians. Then there was this:

LinkedIn member
This member chose to be shown as anonymous

Why do people do that?

Unless I’m woefully misinformed, LinkedIn is a professional networking medium. That is, as best I can discern, it’s a medium in which professionals network. Unless I’m as wrong about this as I am about so many other things, professionals network by sharing information about themselves. And unless I’ve been going about this errantly from the outset, one of the items of information about which networking professionals are interested, at least presumably and intuitively, is identity.


I imagine the people who choose to be shown as anonymous on LinkedIn attend live networking events — conferences, trade shows, corporate hospitality events, professional association meetings, and fundraisers for honest politicians — blindfolded with duct tape over their mouths. And they refuse to wear name tags. While none of them has ever bumped into me as they stumble innominately around, I seem to attract them on LinkedIn. There can only be a few plausible explanations for this:

  • They’ve already heard about me and don’t want to run the risk of my knowing they looked at my profile.
  • They’re on the INTERPOL Wanted List and prefer to be incognito.
  • They have a lot of overdue library books.
  • Lurking on LinkedIn is the closest they get to stalking.
  • They haven’t decided who they want to be when they grow up.
  • They think identities are just labels and believe the world would be a better place without labels of any kind.
  • They’ve found a way to make statements about their individualism by not being identifiable individuals.

Regardless of the reason, choosing to be shown as anonymous on LinkedIn is as pointless as it is annoying.

In the immortal words of Roseanne Roseannadanna, “Don’t you wish people like that would just stay home?”

I do.

Image by stokpic, courtesy of pixabay.com.