LinkedIn Locations: Are You Happy About How Your City is Displayed?

Are you happy with how the city you live in is displayed on your LinkedIn profile?  I’m not.  Let me explain further.

When you enter your zip code into your profile, LinkedIn will display your city based on its own algorithm and database of metropolitan areas.  Let’s take a look at how these locations are defined.  If you go to your “Connections” screen on LinkedIn and choose the “Advanced Options” to “Filter by Location”, it is interesting what geographies of your connections show up on LinkedIn and which do not.  These are the same locations that will appear when viewing someone’s profile.  Smaller cities sometimes appear as their own location, while bigger metropolitan areas are usually bundled together.

For instance, in my native California, big cities like Bakersfield (315,000+ population), Fresno (470,000+), Modesto (200,000+), Sacramento (460,000+), and Stockton (285,000+) have their own locations.  But so do very small cities like Redding, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara – each of these cities have a population of less than 100,000 but will be displayed if you live near then in your LinkedIn profile.  Why does this upset me?Well, even though these smaller cities have their own locale on LinkedIn, the three biggest metropolitan areas are all lumped together into one: Greater Los Angeles area, Greater San Diego area, and San Francisco Bay area (hey, why isn’t it called Greater San Francisco area?).  And, although I cannot speak for the demographics of San Diego and San Francisco, I live in Orange County.  Orange County is considered part of the Greater Los Angeles area.  Yet, after Los Angeles County and San Diego County, Orange County is the third most populous county in California with a population of more than three million.  And how can you tell me that if you lived in Redding you will get your city name listed on your profile but everyone in Orange County is lumped together as part of L.A.?  Orange County has its own airport, area codes, sports teams…what does Orange County have to do to be considered a separate location?

To be fair to LinkedIn, I can understand that they probably modeled this on some geographically-based algorithm.  But if recruiters are one of their main customers, and if all of the job sites that I see list Orange County as a distinct location, shouldn’t it be in LinkedIn’s interest to do so as well?

LinkedIn has become such a social phenomenon that its users (myself included) are now making requests of it as if it is part of the public domain.  This is a natural reaction to a technology becoming so pervasive in our lives that now its users are certainly making many requests on them.  As the platform for professional networking becomes more pervasive, people will start forming opinions about it, both good and bad, in how it responds to user complaints.  And how do they respond to such a request, to have Orange County become a specific location, to be put on the LinkedIn map?

Thank you for contacting LinkedIn Customer Support. We currently divide all global areas into geographic regions. However, these regions are not specific to the zip code level. We are providing broader search access capabilities by not limiting regions by zip code.

Responding to someone’s request in such a way makes one feel that LinkedIn really doesn’t care.  And I don’t believe that that’s the case.  I do believe that LinkedIn has evolved from a Silicon Valley start-up to a several hundred person enterprise.  And maybe some of these issues are now slipping through the cracks and not being voiced to the people who matter inside the company, as what happens when small companies become bigger enterprises.

So, if you are a user of the networking platform and are unhappy about this, what can you do?  A local friend of mine in Orange County, Sven Johnston, decided to take the initiative and do something both creative as well as empowering to those who live in Orange County and want to see change: he started his own LinkedIn Group!  His Group, We are Orange County, has now grown to more than 1,250 members since being created on May 20 (that’s less than two weeks ago!), and the objective is to create change by petitioning to LinkedIn to create an Orange County locale through the numbers of members that are requesting it.

Already the Discussions board is filled with people networking with employees in Mountain View to try to convince them to change.  The local Orange County newspaper, the O.C. Register, has also picked up on this and an article has already been published.  In some ways, this group and movement have been created by the existence of LinkedIn itself, and utilizing a LinkedIn-created community is a perfect way to organically gather support within the platform for change.

I would go further in stating that this is a great example of how you can utilize social networking for a good cause, to create positive change for people in your community.  If you don’t live in Orange County this may seem like a trivial thing, but to local residents who are very proud of their large community and want to see it given its due recognition, it is a sensitive issue.

Do you live in a geographic region that is not given its own unique existence in LinkedIn?  Have you done something through LI for a greater cause?  I am interested to hear other people’s opinions and experiences, as well as any advice that you have for us in Orange County.  And I will definitely update you all on this blog if and when a resolution with LinkedIn is reached.

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
PeopleLinx

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting. I never even knew that Orange County wasn’t listed as a separate city from LA County on LinkedIn.

    I finally updated my zip code on LinkedIn since my move to the Orange County, and it certainly does still state my locations to be in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

  2. says

    Interesting. I never even knew that Orange County wasn’t listed as a separate city from LA County on LinkedIn.

    I finally updated my zip code on LinkedIn since my move to the Orange County, and it certainly does still state my locations to be in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

  3. Shiyun says

    Hi Neal:
    This is an interesting yet intriguing question.

    If you think the purpose of LI is social networking or professional networking, the wider geo area is better to include more members. The “So Cal Sushi” is a good example, it does not limited to OC folks.

    Although I agree the Greater LA is really too big.
    I add up LA, OC, Reverside, and San Bernadio counties, that’s over 17M ! It’s right up there with 5th largest state Illinois. But that will be LI database management’s issue.

    So would that be some identity issue with OC folks. What about folks in Reverside or San Bernadio also want break away? (each has 2M)
    And even Santa Clara County, where LI main hub resides, does not have it’s own geo ID. (1.8M)

    When the California Angeles team was renamed as LA Angeles; instead of OC Angeles or Anaheim Angeles. I think the marketing wihz has it’s good reason. One more, 3 of my 1st connects found jobs in May, they all live in OC, and jobs are all in LA county.

    BTW, a short discussion among my 1st connects; someone point out there are other OC Groups:
    “OCEAN”, “Linked OC California”, … already promote OC. Also there is a sister OC in Florida, where the sister magic kingdom resides.
    (Groups alike is a bit senstitive, see Neal’s other blog from 2nd comment above.)

    So you should not be unhappy being part of Greater LA, unless you are a hard core GOP. ;-)
    At end of day, that’s how the So Cal 17M social life interconnected.

    Cheer!!

    Disclosure: Shiyun is a long time resident of OC & Angeles fan.

  4. Shiyun says

    Hi Neal:
    This is an interesting yet intriguing question.

    If you think the purpose of LI is social networking or professional networking, the wider geo area is better to include more members. The “So Cal Sushi” is a good example, it does not limited to OC folks.

    Although I agree the Greater LA is really too big.
    I add up LA, OC, Reverside, and San Bernadio counties, that’s over 17M ! It’s right up there with 5th largest state Illinois. But that will be LI database management’s issue.

    So would that be some identity issue with OC folks. What about folks in Reverside or San Bernadio also want break away? (each has 2M)
    And even Santa Clara County, where LI main hub resides, does not have it’s own geo ID. (1.8M)

    When the California Angeles team was renamed as LA Angeles; instead of OC Angeles or Anaheim Angeles. I think the marketing wihz has it’s good reason. One more, 3 of my 1st connects found jobs in May, they all live in OC, and jobs are all in LA county.

    BTW, a short discussion among my 1st connects; someone point out there are other OC Groups:
    “OCEAN”, “Linked OC California”, … already promote OC. Also there is a sister OC in Florida, where the sister magic kingdom resides.
    (Groups alike is a bit senstitive, see Neal’s other blog from 2nd comment above.)

    So you should not be unhappy being part of Greater LA, unless you are a hard core GOP. ;-)
    At end of day, that’s how the So Cal 17M social life interconnected.

    Cheer!!

    Disclosure: Shiyun is a long time resident of OC & Angeles fan.

  5. Neal Schaffer says

    Hey Steven,

    You know, I have heard of King of Prussia ;-) I don’t think that everyone will feel that this is a problem. Maybe because L.A. is so geographically spread out compared to other cities it creates an issue. Regardless, on many sites “Orange County” is a separate entity.

  6. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Shiyun,

    Wow! Thanks for your insight and contribution to the comments. You bring up some valid points. I agree that there could be other identity issues with other populous counties. It really makes you think as how you can define one region as being more important than the next. I do think that Orange County ‘”The O.C.” has a stronger identity than Riverside and San Bernadino Counties (“The Inland Empire”) … or maybe there should be an “Inland Empire” database entry. And that’s what it comes down to, how LinkedIn operates their database and what they deem to be important or not. I understand your point about O.C. people working in L.A., but most O.C. people I know are looking for jobs here in the O.C. and would like to avoid the L.A. commute. I thought that there was enough identity in Orange County to cause people to not only create this group but also to grow to become the third largest group representing Southern California in a matter of days! If other counties want to do so I think they have the right to petition, but it really comes down to whether or not they want to or have the LinkedIn population to be able to petition to LinkedIn, or even have someone to take the initiative to do so. Orange County certainly has this with We are Orange County.

    As for the other Orange County groups, well, each LinkedIn Group is different in what their mission is. “OCEAN” is an Orange County Executives and Networkers group while “Linked Orange County” is trying to foster its own local O.C. community. The mission of “We are Orange County”, unlike these other two groups, is solely to get Orange County on the LinkedIn map…the other two groups have not taken the initiative to do so. So I see a place for We are Orange County. The question is what does this group do after LinkedIn gives Orange County their own region, but I know the Group Manager and am confident that he has great plans in store to have this group continue to being supportive of the local Orange County community.

    P.S. Although I live in Orange County at the present, I was born and lived most of my life in Los Angeles County. And I still have Dodger Blue running in my veins. But I still see the case for Orange County.

  7. Anonymous says

    Well, I’ve never seen this as a problem, however, I haven’t heard of it before. Am I not paying close enough attention? Maybe. I live in Redondo Beach, which is ten to fifteen minutes south of LAX, depending on traffic, and we have our own mayor, city council, etc. and are NOT considered part of Los Angeles itself, unlike the San Fernando Valley.

    My guess would be that LI is going to be in a big huge PR mess if they don’t take care of this problem quickly….

  8. says

    Well, I’ve never seen this as a problem, however, I haven’t heard of it before. Am I not paying close enough attention? Maybe. I live in Redondo Beach, which is ten to fifteen minutes south of LAX, depending on traffic, and we have our own mayor, city council, etc. and are NOT considered part of Los Angeles itself, unlike the San Fernando Valley.

    My guess would be that LI is going to be in a big huge PR mess if they don’t take care of this problem quickly….

  9. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Matches,

    Thanks for stopping by! Hey, I grew up near you in South Bay, and I never felt a need to have a separate “South Bay” locale. But Orange County is a little bit farther out and does have its own pretty significant population and economy. Either ways, there are probably other communities that would also like their own locale, so it will be interesting to see what progresses.

    - Neal

  10. Neal Schaffer says

    Hey Steven,

    You know, I have heard of King of Prussia ;-) I don’t think that everyone will feel that this is a problem. Maybe because L.A. is so geographically spread out compared to other cities it creates an issue. Regardless, on many sites “Orange County” is a separate entity.

  11. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Shiyun,

    Wow! Thanks for your insight and contribution to the comments. You bring up some valid points. I agree that there could be other identity issues with other populous counties. It really makes you think as how you can define one region as being more important than the next. I do think that Orange County ‘”The O.C.” has a stronger identity than Riverside and San Bernadino Counties (“The Inland Empire”) … or maybe there should be an “Inland Empire” database entry. And that’s what it comes down to, how LinkedIn operates their database and what they deem to be important or not. I understand your point about O.C. people working in L.A., but most O.C. people I know are looking for jobs here in the O.C. and would like to avoid the L.A. commute. I thought that there was enough identity in Orange County to cause people to not only create this group but also to grow to become the third largest group representing Southern California in a matter of days! If other counties want to do so I think they have the right to petition, but it really comes down to whether or not they want to or have the LinkedIn population to be able to petition to LinkedIn, or even have someone to take the initiative to do so. Orange County certainly has this with We are Orange County.

    As for the other Orange County groups, well, each LinkedIn Group is different in what their mission is. “OCEAN” is an Orange County Executives and Networkers group while “Linked Orange County” is trying to foster its own local O.C. community. The mission of “We are Orange County”, unlike these other two groups, is solely to get Orange County on the LinkedIn map…the other two groups have not taken the initiative to do so. So I see a place for We are Orange County. The question is what does this group do after LinkedIn gives Orange County their own region, but I know the Group Manager and am confident that he has great plans in store to have this group continue to being supportive of the local Orange County community.

    P.S. Although I live in Orange County at the present, I was born and lived most of my life in Los Angeles County. And I still have Dodger Blue running in my veins. But I still see the case for Orange County.

  12. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Matches,

    Thanks for stopping by! Hey, I grew up near you in South Bay, and I never felt a need to have a separate “South Bay” locale. But Orange County is a little bit farther out and does have its own pretty significant population and economy. Either ways, there are probably other communities that would also like their own locale, so it will be interesting to see what progresses.

    - Neal

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