LinkedIn now lets you know who viewed your updates

Summary:It's actually less scary than you might think at first.

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LinkedIn is sprucing up the home screen for its users with a pair of new features focused on viewing other people's profiles.

These are titled "Who’s Viewed Your Updates" and "You Recently Visited."

Both features can be found on the right-hand side of the news feed, right under "People You May Know."

At first glance, it might be a bit unnerving, but these aren't as scary or potentially embarrassing as you might think.

For starters, viewing profiles often is expected on LinkedIn where people are supposed to be networking and building professional relationships.

LinkedIn product manager Caroline Gaffney clarified in a blog post on Wednesday that both features are supposed to provide members with more personalized insights on their activities and engagements across the professional social network.

The list of recently visited profiles is fairly straightforward, basically just keeping a running list. That could come in handy for keeping track of prospective hires and which ones you might or might not have examined yet.

As for people who have kept track of your own updates, that's a little more complex.

Gaffney described that this feature displays a "snapshot" of your shared content over the previous two weeks along with who has seen it and how it has been received (i.e. liked or shared). The snapshot will display other LinkedIn contacts who have seen the content from 1st, 2nd and 3rd decree connection rings.

Gaffney suggested how this could be useful, positing that users can get real-time feedback about content and its ripples throughout networks.

Furthermore, she added it continues to build a user's "brand" while opening the door to even more potential new user connections.

However, it requires a few user and privacy setting changes first.

When sampling it myself, I was instructed to make my profile view "visible" from simply an anonymous user with a blank photo to my name, work title and photo attached to my LinkedIn profile.

Basically, that means this is a give-and-take scheme. If you want to see who is viewing your profile, you need to comply and let others know you are checking out their profiles too.

Additionally, this kind of visibility also comes at a cost.

I was prompted with the note that in order to sign up for the full list of who has seen my profile, I would have to sign up for LinkedIn Premium.

Pricing starts at $19.95 for an annual subscription, or $24.95 for a monthly option.

UPDATED: LinkedIn reps clarified that the price wall applies to viewing a person's profile, rather than just updates. The representative also asserted that the new modules shouldn't require users to change any settings or require a premium subscription.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apps, IT Employment, Mobility, Privacy

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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