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And once again, LinkedIn's network analysis is creeping me out
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jducoeur
This morning, I decided to do my once-every-six-month trawl through LinkedIn's "Do You Know These People?" recommendations of connections. (Mainly because someone has, once again, endorsed my skills. Which is appreciated, but I do wish the system was better at getting endorsements for things I am actually current in and enjoy, like Scala, as opposed to words people recognize, like Java.)

As usual, it's a pretty good list of connection suggestions, and I can see how they came up with most of them -- I don't actually accept most recommendations, but that's because my LinkedIn flist is restricted to people who I know well enough either personally or professionally that I can recommend them for a job. (About 75% of their suggestions are people I know, but in most cases by now, don't know quite that well -- or sometimes, wouldn't recommend.)

But in the middle of the list, it suggested Lynne Stockman. How the bloody *blazes* did it recommend Lynne Stockman?

Lynne's my realtor, the one selling my house. She's reasonably good at her job -- she and her husband Phil sold our previous place in three days flat, and while I'm disappointed in how slow the process is going this time, I have to be realistic that that's mostly because the market is still fairly wobbly.

But that's my only relationship with her. She's only a third-degree connection in LinkedIn, which is practically the other end of the world socially. Not only is there nothing in my personal information that would point to her, she's not even related in any sensible graph-theory way.

I can only assume that LinkedIn is hoovering up vast amounts of public information, and hooking it together behind the scenes, to find that she is the realtor for the house that I am selling. Either that, or (creepier still, but seems unlikely) they have some deal with Google, to spy on the social graph inherent in emails, which is our one significant online relationship. Either way, it's pretty bloody disconcerting...

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Isn't there an option to upload your email address book to LinkedIn? If she did that, your address would presumably be in it....

Ah -- interesting point. That would be a less unsettling possibility, yes. I never, ever, *ever* let social networks do that, so I tend to forget about the fact that they ask for it...

This. I was creeped out to see the CEO of a company I once did business with, only to realize we'd exchanged emails in the past.

There's a disrupted expectation there to be investigated...something about "in-link privacy".

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I have had some suggestions that seemed creepy to me (yes, I know those people but can't imagine how you could figure that out) but also have had some suggestions that seem so totally off the wall that I really wonder what their algorithms are - for a while, they repeatedly suggested Harry Bliss, the cartoonist. No people in common, no interests in common that I know of, no shared education links. What the heck?

It could be a matter of public records. Your house is listed in MLS with Lynne as the agent. Property records and mortgage records record you as the owner. 1+1 equals....

It may sound creepy at first, but also consider that you are choosing to restrict your interactions with LinkedIn to a smaller subset of its intended function. Others are not so cautious. :)

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