It’s ironic that one of the biggest complaints I hear about LinkedIn has nothing to do with the platform. Instead, it’s centered on the massive numbers of emails and messages that professionals get when they sign up. Connection requests, group digests, and work anniversary reminders can quickly clog your inbox both in your LinkedIn account and email. You’ll find yourself wishing you had never joined LinkedIn in the first place. You just want to get things done…not manage notifications, messages, and invitations. It’s like trying to drink water from a firehose.
Don’t worry. It’s possible, and pretty easy, to limit this deluge of information
Information is Good
First things first, don’t hate LinkedIn because it’s sharing information with you – that’s one of the reasons you are there. It’s just a matter of tuning LinkedIn like a radio. Remember when you had to actually tune them with a dial? We want to get rid of the noise and static so that only the signal we want remains.
The exact nature of that signal will be determined by what you are trying to learn from your LinkedIn connections. Are you just trying to stay in the loop with what they are doing? Are you looking for specific signs that someone could become a prospective client? Do you want to find ways that you can engage with your network and build stronger relationships? All require different steps to get the right information.
You should also adjust the flow based on how often you visit LinkedIn. If you visit every day it will be different than if you only check in once a week. Keep in mind that not all platforms on which you view LinkedIn are the same. You can do much more on the browser version than you can on one of the mobile apps; but the mobile version is always available (for example, when you are waiting in a long line). These should all be taken into consideration.
1. The first step is to control how many emails that you get.
Visit the Communications tab on the Privacy and Settings page. You can manage how you get emails about the various activities on LinkedIn. Whether it’s connection requests, activities in your Groups, or LinkedIn Pulse, you can choose to get emails once a week, once a day, or not at all. Again, it depends on how you are using LinkedIn. If you are visiting the site daily, then maybe you don’t need to get reminder emails because you’ll see those connection requests anyways. Or maybe you don’t want to visit all of the Groups you’ve joined, but you want to stay in touch with what’s happening in them. Get a weekly digest of the activity in the group and you’ll be able to respond to anything that’s relevant.
2. Optimize how people can reach out to you.
If you are using LinkedIn to build a robust network to support your offline relationships, you can keep your LinkedIn account relatively welcoming. You can allow anyone to send you an invitation and choose to accept Introductions, Inmails, and even Open Link messages (Open Link is a setting that allows anyone to send you a message whether they are connected to you or not). All of this is controlled through the same Communications tab.
However, you can also limit this flow of messages if people are abusing this; which can happen a lot if you are in a role where salespeople, recruiters, or job applicants pester you. You can set your profile to only accept invitations from people who know your email address or who are in your contacts list. This minimizes the number of superfluous connection requests you’ll receive. You can also choose to only receive Inmails, or even only Introductions, to further limit how people can approach you. Don’t go to the extreme before you consider that by limiting the inflow of messages and invitations you are also making it more challenging for the people that you want to interact with. As with many things in networking, balance is important.
3. Control your Newsfeed.
One of the most powerful tools on LinkedIn is the ability to “listen” to what’s happening in your network in just a few minutes a day by reviewing your newsfeed. It can be incredibly annoying when you have a connection that gums up the works by posting ten articles in a row or liking fifteen other posts. They take up the whole feed and you have to scroll, scroll, and scroll down to get past them. You can always remove them as a connection, but what if you want to remain connected and simply avoid their chatter. It’s quite possible they just don’t realize how irritating their actions are.
You can easily hide them from the newsfeed and prevent them from overpowering everyone else (while still retaining the connection for later). By all of the posts, there is a small dropdown triangle that will allow you to hide that user from the newsfeed. You can always reverse this in the future if you would like. Also, you can choose whether to see all updates or you can let the LinkedIn algorithm choose to just show you the most relevant. It’s up to you, but again, finding the balance is crucial to getting the most out of LinkedIn.
Taken together, these three steps will allow you to focus on the most important activities that are happening within your network. Sure, not every email and status update will be relevant, but there will be much less static to obscure the important messages that are coming to you every day.