What could be the psychology behind anonymous viewings in LinkedIn?

Whenever I get a  Gmail notification saying that people are looking at your LinkedIn profile, very eagerly I go back and try to find out who is looking at my profile. But much to my surprise, very often, I come across certain viewers whom I cannot recognize, it says an “anonymous viewer”. And I become more curious about who is that anonymous viewer and what is the purpose behind viewing my profile anonymously. While trying to figure out the “who” and “why” behind this anonymous viewing and the psychology behind such behavior, I finally arrive at the following assumptions:

  • They must be some of your colleagues who are curious to know more about professional experience. But because some ego issues or personal reason, they don’t want to reveal that they are observing you.
  • They must be the recruiters who prefer to be anonymous for many reasons such as they may not like to be contacted personally by the candidates; they may need to visit the same profile for a number times etc. Without providing any clue, the recruiters can collect all necessary information about you.
  • They must be your competitors who are interested in keeping a tack of your activities. Either, your growth make them feel insecure or out of jealousy they spy on you in LinkedIn hiding their identity.
  • They are certain people who view your profile simply out of curiosity and choose to be anonymous.
  • They must be your employer or senior in the same company who wants to be informed about your activities in LinkedIn. Viewing your activities in LinkedIn helps your senior to read your mind; whether you have planned for any job change, how you have projected your current company in LinkedIn etc. Everybody can access your activities in LinkedIn if you have not turned on your privacy settings.
  • Sometimes, it may also happen that you send a friend request to somebody who is in a higher position. The person may not accept your request, but he/she may be curious about knowing you secretly. Such people may choose to be anonymous.
  • There are many viewers who view people anonymously only to send a friend request in return. It’s like you think about…and also analyze a person before including him/her in your professional network.

Thus, for end number of personal or professional reasons, you may not want to reveal your actual identity and prefer to be an anonymous viewer. Whatever may be reason, such anonymous viewing is perhaps mainly prompted by the feeling of “curiosity”. The viewer views you out of curiosity which in return increases your curiosity about the viewer. It’s all about the play of “curiosity”, and there is no harm in letting the viewed person know that you are curious about him/her. Even if LinkedIn allows you to be semi-anonymous and completely anonymous, the choice is always yours!