Just read an article on RecruitingBlogs by Hung Lee titled Who Owns Your LinkedIn Profile? What EVERYONE Needs To Know.
By the ominous title I’d suggest that you already know the answer… YOU DON’T.
Well, let’s clarify that a bit. Lee’s article is all about the ownership outside of LinkedIn’s Terms of Service. That is, if you work at a company and build your social presence (I assume this is really only for those who do this on an employer’s time) then the question becomes:
If you leave the company, can you take your networks with you? Or do they belong to the company?
In the UK there has been a ruling FOR the company (and against the former employee, who is a recruiter). Check out this scary title: Court orders ex-employee to hand over LinkedIn contacts. Yuck.
That is very, very scary. If this is how it goes then it might be the largest deterrent to doing social stuff while on-the-clock. Especially since there is already so little loyalty between a company/employee, and employees are moving to different companies so frequently.
I just spent some time on the terms of service and privacy pages and didn’t see anything about who owns the content you post (in most cases, like on Yahoo Groups, THEY DO), or who “owns” your network connections, but here are a few thoughts:
- Regularly (like, today) export your Profile as a PDF. This also grabs all of the testimonials (aka, Recommendations).
- Regularly (like, today) export your Contacts to a CSV file. This is easy to do and provides you with a backup of, at the very least, names and email addresses.
- No matter who is “connected” to who, you should understand “networking” to a point to realize that nurturing a relationship with your contacts is up to you and independent of LinkedIn. Even if you lose your entire LinkedIn account you don’t lose those interpersonal relationships.
I hope this puts things in perspective for you… thoughts?