“Who’s Viewed Your Profile” is LinkedIn’s most popular feature by a long shot

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The most popular LinkedIn feature has little to do with actual networking or job hunting, according to the latest research by consultant Wayne Breitbarth, who advises companies on using LinkedIn. For the second year in a row, a majority of users he surveyed picked “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” as the site’s number one feature, Forbes reports.

(Breitbarth polled 896 LinkedIn users via a survey he shared on his own LinkedIn profile and on Twitter. Asked about its conclusions, a LinkedIn spokeswoman said “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” is “one of the most popular destinations on LinkedIn.”)

That feature allows users to keep an eye on who’s keeping an eye on them. Popular dating site OkCupid has a similar functionality: While users can choose to remain hidden (on either site) this removes their ability to see what users have peeked at them.

With your account set to allow the feature, profile views become coy indications of interest. Messages are only necessary if you have something to say: More than one profile view makes it clear that you’re keeping an eye on the other party. For some reason, we think all of this subtle back-and-forth winking is more interesting than other LinkedIn features, such as posting in group discussions. And LinkedIn doesn’t even show you a full list of profile viewers as part of its free service. The site charges a premium (starting at $7.99 a month) to see all of the people who have viewed your page.

While there’s little agreement about what LinkedIn is actually for (other than meeting romantic partners), there’s apparent consensus that the  professional social networking site is very important. While only 9% of users surveyed by Breitbarth gave the site a four or five ranking out of five last year, a full 70% ranked the site as such in this year’s survey.