LinkedIn users will have noticed the addition recently of an “endorsement” feature, with which you can give a single click endorsement to a connections listed skills. When I first noticed this feature some months ago I didn’t think much of it, but a recent discussion by one of my friends on Facebook has made me take a second look at this feature. After doing a little research and running across some good articles on the topic, such as Pam Moore’s and The Brain Yard’s, I am forced to conclude that this is a useless feature than only diminishes LinkedIn’s credibility.
One thing strongly lacking is any sense of context. This feature doesn’t allow for any explanation of the skills you are endorsing or how you experienced them. Am I endorsing Jose’s XHTML coding skills because I worked with him for years and can speak to his specific strength as a coder? Or am I a client for whom he built a website and has limited knowledge of his back-end coding skills? Or am I an old school friend who only knows that he was a B+ average student who struggled with math?
Pam Moore points out that some of the more concerning aspects of this new tool in LinkedIn is the way it is implemented:
- It takes one click, much like the Facebook “like” buttons, which may be a concern depending on how weighted these endorsements become in searches.
- The endorsement feature is being shoved down your throat every time you log-in to LinkedIn or visit a profile.
- People you may just barely know are sending requests for endorsements, which–as The Brain Yards’ article points out–may gilt some into endorsing them. After all, it is just one click.
- It turns LinkedIn to just another social media game, where people collect “endorsements” like Facebook pages collect “likes”
I’ve also had the experience–and been told of similar experiences from a friend of a friend on Facebook–of an acquaintance endorsing me for skills that I know they have no knowledge of, which leaves me feeling somehow obligated to “return the favor” despite my having just as limited knowledge of their skills.
And just why is this needed at all? There is already in place a recommendation feature, where you can write out a testimonial for a contact, explaining your knowledge of their skills in context.
All in all, it seems like this new feature is a waste that will only devalue LinkedIn as a professional social media site. Very sad.
Tags: LinkedIn, Social Media, Social Media Games