Avoiding “Sybil syndrome”: what to do when you have two LinkedIn accounts

This post first appeared on my old blog in December of 2011, but it’s just as relevant today. “Sybil syndrome” is becoming more common as users who were inactive on LinkedIn look to return and take advantage of new features.

If you grew up in the 1970s, you likely remember the book/movie Sybil. Despite recent questions about the veracity of the story, Sybil is still the first thing that comes to mind when I think of people with multiple personalities.

That explains why I use “Sybil syndrome” when referring to the plight of those who have two separate LinkedIn accounts. Often, “Sybil syndrome” begins when LinkedIn users forget that they already have a LinkedIn account. Then they establish a second account, which leads to chaos when they strive to make use of LinkedIn or when others try to find them. It doesn’t quite drive them crazy, but if the number of people posting to LinkedIn Answers about this problem is any indication, it can be pretty maddening.

So, what should you do if you have two LinkedIn accounts? There’s no way to merge them, unfortunately. But here’s the next best thing you can do:

1. Decide which profile you want to keep moving forward. You’ll end up deleting the other profile (or, if you’re especially afflicted, profiles)–but not yet.

2. Export or otherwise record the names of connections from the profile you will NOT retain.

3. Determine which of these contacts are unduplicated among the contacts associated with the profile you’ll retain. Send all of the connections you want to keep a connection request from–and this is important–the profile you’ll retain moving forward. It’s worth taking the time to customize each of these requests to explain that you’re deleting an old account and you want to be sure to stay connected. If not, those you wish to connect with may assume they’re already connected to you and ignore the request.

4. Determine whether there is any other information you want to retain from the profiles that will ultimately be deleted–recommendations, summaries or position descriptions, for example, that might prove valuable sometime in the future. Again, there’s no way to merge this information into another profile, but you may want to have access to it for other uses (like this, for example).

5. Now you can delete the profile you’ll no longer retain, but make sure you delete the right one! 

Don’t know how to delete a LinkedIn profile? Watch for a post next Wednesday, or drop a note in the comments.

Is this move the “bomb”…or an abomination?

“Stick to the root beer floats…” by chuddlesworth on Flickr

Nic Hulting pointed me to this Mashable post about an ad agency using a “LinkedIn bomb” to acquire a new client. Here’s the gist of the story:

In April, everyone [at Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions] sent LinkedIn requests to A&W Restaurants President Kevin Bazner and Director of Marketing Sarah Blasi at the exact same time. The messages were all headed “Welcome to Lexington” because A&W had just moved its headquarters from Louisville after being spun off from Yum Brands.

The stunt was a shot in the dark. No one at the agency actually knew anyone at A&W. No one knew if the company was looking for a new ad agency. (It turns out they weren’t, really.) The LinkedIn Bomb got Cornett’s foot in the door, though. After several months of meetings and evaluations, the two companies are planning to announce on Tuesday that Cornett is A&W’s agency of record now.

Do I love this move, or do I hate it? A little of both actually:

Why I hate it

  • It seems way too aggressive
  • I’m a big believer in only connecting on LinkedIn with those you know
  • The fact that everyone at the agency just happened to have “individual stories about their personal relationships with A&W Restaurants” (as stated in the Mashable story) seems a little contrived

Why I love it

  • No one has done it before, at least to my knowledge
  • Well, it worked

What’s your opinion? Is this a great move by the folks at Cornett, or do you think it’s taking things to far–despite the fact that it worked?

What’s the difference between sharing a status update with “LinkedIn” vs. “Connections”?

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how to incorporate a link into a LinkedIn status update in the new profile design. In the interim, I was asked a question: what’s the difference between sharing a status update with “LinkedIn” vs. sharing it with “Connections”?

status choices

It’s actually a lot simpler than it seems. If you select “LinkedIn,” the update will be available to everyone in your extended network including your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections. Select “connections” and the update will be displayed only to your 1st degree connections. What happens if you select “LinkedIn + Twitter”? Well, it will be shared with your extended network on LinkedIn and your Twitter followers (assuming you have a Twitter account, of course).

As always, if you have any questions, drop a note in the comments.

Connect LinkedIn and SlideShare to automatically share presentations with connections

Before the launch of the new LinkedIn profile, plugging the SlideShare application into your profile made it easy to share presentations with your connections. Well, applications are no more, having been replaced with the ability to add media to your profile.

It’s still possible, however, to automatically share each of your SlideShare uploads with your connections as status updates. You can even automatically share as status updates SlideShare presentations from others that you favorite. This presentation from LinkedIn gives a brief overview:

If you want a presentation to be seen on your profile, you’ll still have to add it as a media file, but syncing LinkedIn and SlideShare will eliminate a couple steps when making your presentations available to your connections.