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.


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