I am, at the moment, just freaked out enough to feel the need to post this right away, though it’s one of those things that on further reflection may make me wish I’d waited. But…

I got a request from a former student a few minutes ago asking to add me to his LinkedIn network. After I accepted, I got this little window listing “People You May Know.” On this list are included:

— 4 former students (which, okay, that one’s fairly easy; educational info produces that connection, I guess, but how did they come up with three of my former students and one student whom I knew through residence life channels from among all the institution’s alumni?);
— a former colleague (ditto for job history info, but this is a former staff member who did not work in my department, but whom I knew fairly well);
— a colleague at another institution whom I know through conferences and blogging;
— another bloggy pal from another country with whom I attended a meeting;
— one person I actually don’t know, but really ought to;
— and my father. To whom I haven’t talked in a very long time.

I’m trying to come up with some rational, non-scary explanation for this, but am at the moment coming up dry. How LinkedIn am I, really?

6 thoughts on “LinkedIn?

  1. Whoa. I got this horrible-tight-stomach-turning-somersaults-feeling when I read this. Hope you’re ok and not reeling too much from the shock of it all.

  2. i had the exact same experience when i joined linkin. random contacts from high school, college, and work. my theory is it takes your email contact information (not just the address, but the name associated with the address) and cross checks it against their own database of members. or…possibly takes all email contacts from all members and runs cross checks for overlapping email contacts.

    i don’t know…it’s freaky.

  3. You know, I’m not sure that’s possible in my case; the email address that my LinkedIn account uses doesn’t have an online-accessible address book (such as gmail) nor did I give it access to my contacts. Nor, in fact, were several of the people it assumed I may know in my contacts. Another friend of mine suggested that the site could remember who has searched for you, even if they didn’t request a connection. The whole thing still skeeves me.

  4. I see this all the time too… and I’ve been spending the past 3 years on social stalking software ( btw, contact me offline if you want to see some scary applications of using your media studies classes for corporate interests )

    My guess is a combination of the following:
    – who has searched for you / looked at your profile
    – who a probabalistic engine suggests based on – friends of friends / similar work/education associations
    – online peoplesearch – i type in your name to google, i can find lots of people you’re associated with as social network friends, posting on the same blogs & listserves, etc

    its hard to tell what is going on behind the scenes there. linkedin is kind of a shell game – they’re less about the technology (which is actually pretty bad ) and more about the critcial mass in the market sector they’re addressing.

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