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

"Sybil DVD.jpg" from Wikipedia

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! 

How do you delete a LinkedIn profile, you ask? I’ll cover that on Monday. In the meantime, have a great weekend–regardless of how many of you there are.

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2 Responses to Avoiding Sybil syndrome: what to do when you have two LinkedIn accounts

  1. Thanks Anthony.
    I’m curious as to why someone would want to completely delete their profile, but perhaps you’ll cover that in your Monday update.

  2. ajjuliano says:


    Two valid reasons why someone might:

    1. As stated above, to eliminate an unintentionally duplicated presence on LinkedIn
    2. Because their time is better spent elsewhere

    I think #2 is under appreciated. While I’m a huge LinkedIn fan, it’s not mandatory. And while I believe that social media as a whole is relevant to everyone, I believe most of us are best served by a targeted approach with a focus on two or three key social media profiles. You can’t have profiles everywhere, and to try to is to neglect things that probably deserve to be a higher priority. I’ve considered eliminating a few profiles just to conserve time and attention, and I’d encourage others to do the same if those sites are drawing them away from high priority work.

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