Everybody has a network of connections on LinkedIn, but what do the three degrees of connections mean to you? Perhaps you’re more familiar with the Six Degrees of the actor Kevin Bacon or The Three Degrees singers from the 1960’ and 70s?
LinkedIn’s three degrees do not relate to pop stars or actors but to what level of relationship you have with the people and hence what you can see.
Level one – 1st degree connections
1st degree connections are the people you know and have accepted invites from or sent invites to (that they have also accepted) and hence you are connected to, your “friends” if you like.
You can see their full profile on LinkedIn including their email address (defaults to visible but you can chose to hide it in settings) and phone number. You can see all their connections (if they haven’t hidden them) and you can message them via LinkedIn messaging and you will see a 1st next to their name when you view their profile on LinkedIn or see their interactions.
Level two – 2nd degree connections
2nd degree connections are the people your level one connections are connected to (their network), or if you like “friends of your friends”.
You will be able to see their full profile, but not their email address or phone number, and you will only be able to see their public activity.
You will not be able to message them direct on LinkedIn, but you can use an Open Profile message (if they are setup to accept them), a premium InMail or ask your level one connection to introduce you.
You can send them an invitation to connect if you’d like to and you will see a 2nd next to their name when you view their profile on LinkedIn or see any of their interactions.
Level three – 3rd degree connections
3rd degree connections are the people who are connected to your level two connections, or “friend of a friend’s friend” keeping with the same analogy as above.
You will only be able to see a reduced profile for 3rd level connections (unless you have a premium account or share a LinkedIn group) and you will only be able to contact them using InMail or via an invitation to connect, but only if their full first and last names are displayed.
If only the first letter of their last name is displayed, clicking Connect isn’t a visible option but if you hit “More” or “…” you will then see it hidden away.
They will have a 3rd next to their name when you view their profile on LinkedIn or see their interactions.
LinkedIn was designed to keep you and your network safe and hence you can see different levels of information on each different level of connections.
Just like real life you can see more when you know them and less and less as you get further away relationally or in real life.