Monday, December 10, 2012

The problem with #LinkedIn endorsements

LinkedIn remains one of my favourite resources.  And I certainly understand the pressure on them to innovate new features and secure new business and revenue models.

But the latest 'endorsements' feature just isn't working for me. It's a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" ... Read on to discover the paradox.

It's too easy to succumb to the LinkedIn invitation to endorse people I'm connected with for skills that, honestly, I'm not certain I can vouch for. I just don't have the time to work through each of my contacts and give careful consideration to their claimed skill set; still less to volunteer skills that they may not have laid claim to. And, frankly, I really don't know many of them in enough detail to vouch for their claimed skill set - we may have worked together in a different context, so I've not seen some of those skills in action.

It's so much easier to click one button to endorse all the listed attributes.

Besides, the psychology at work here is something about "I'll endorse you, in the expectation that you'll endorse me back." It's like the pressure in Facebook and Twitter to accept a friend request, or to follow-back a follower.

So, sadly, what in theory is a great idea, giving an extra dimension and richness to professional public profiles, is being debased in practice to the point where, already, endorsements don't in practice carry much weight.

Except if you don't have any: and herein lies the paradox. The endorsements don't necessarily mean much; but not having any does! The absence of endorsements means that you've not been playing the current round of the social networking game, or just don't have enough engaged followers.

It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario.
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