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LinkedIn but feeling left out

Feeling left out on LinkedIn?

How LinkedIn’s 'Endorsements' harm the social platform's credibility.

February 25, 2013 1:33 by

By Sarah Rassasse

As many of you may have recently noticed, LinkedIn has introduced a relatively new feature which allows you to add your own skills in the form of short keywords and your 1st level contacts can endorse you for those skills.

When LinkedIn Endorsements were first rolled out, I genuinely added skills that I believed I exercise on a daily basis, but to my surprise, I started receiving public endorsements from contacts I have neither worked nor ever interacted with.

At first it was flattering. I’d log into LinkedIn everyday and check my notifications to see my contacts endorsing me on skills I exercise regularly; but it did not take long for that flattery to turn into frustration as it became almost like a game of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’. I started receiving messages from those same contacts with a short “hello, I have endorsed you, please endorse me too.”

In my world, if I were to endorse or recommend someone for a skill or quality they possess, it would only happen if I genuinely believed or experienced that the person actually has those qualities. Let’s not forget an important point here; when you recommend someone, your credibility is immediately on the line.

Let’s take endorsements and apply them to a real life scenario to better understand how a person’s credibility can be affected. If a friend or contact of yours wanted to go to a hair salon in Dubai and asked you personally which stylist is reliable? Would you run a quick search on Google and give them whatever ranked first or would you take the time to think about your recommendation before replying?

LinkedIn’s endorsements should not be any different. The social platform has had a clear objective and has stuck to it for many years: ‘connecting professionals’.

Let’s look briefly at how LinkedIn operates:

LinkedIn, to date, is the social platform you would visit to connect with professionals, generate leads, search for potential employees and look for a job.

Users (employees or employers) create their profile on LinkedIn which would list their education level, their work experience, interests and some background information.Most users have a basic profile; which is mainly open to the public allowing users to easily connect with each other.

Recommendations are an important feature as it would include what a person thinks of you professionally; this is very different from endorsements because you have to include where you worked with that person, what they have done for you and it links straight back to your own profile. So the amount of fluff that is included in recommendations is minimal.

If you are to endorse anyone, they should be worth that endorsement, not just because you want them to endorse you back.

When Sarah isn’t busy meeting clients and deadlines with Prototype, shes got her detective cap on and finding new social networks as well as testing out new features and spreading the word along the way. You can reach her [email protected]

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  1. Dave Kiernan on February 25, 2013 2:28 pm

    Re Linkedin’s skills endorsements I agree it is totally pointless. I have been endorsed by people I have never heard of, let alone worked with.
    Totally devalues the site’s reason to exist.

  2. LinkedIn but feeling left out on February 25, 2013 3:41 pm

    […] more at Kipp Report. Filed Under: […]

  3. M. Aldalou on February 25, 2013 3:47 pm

    Spot on Dave. I mean, okay thank you for endorsing my ability to edit or blog, but 1) have you read my blog or witnessed my editing skills? Probably not, nor have I witnessed your ability to hold your breath under water. No thank you!

  4. Ed Brophy on February 26, 2013 1:56 am

    Jut the same way “likes” help your branding, endorsements on Linkedin can also be used to apply the principle of “social proof,” for your personal branding on Linkedin.

    Here are 2 more common examples of soliciting endorsements to acquire social proof:

    1) NBA star Derrick Rose is very close to signing a $250 million “lifetime endorsement” deal with Adidas.

    2) On the presidential ticket were names of many judges, city councilmen, and other politicians many people knew very little or nothing at all about, yet they were endorsed and elected.

    Linkedin users have to start out somewhere with their personal branding. Maybe they’re new or from some foreign place and have few connections, so they get a few endorsements from new connections to apply the principle of “social proof.”

    Once they get people to endorse them similar to the way Addidas does with their social proof branding, they can use the feature that hides endorsements and just show the people that can truly vouch for their skills.

    Of course, if you’re young, pretty, or have a fancy title, you don’t need to worry about endorsements or getting a new start on Linkedin, do you?

    Linkedin is finally giving SEO weight to skill endorsement keywords.

    I’m not totally sure how this works yet, but Linkedin is beginning to use algorithms to give weight to skill endorsements.

    For example, I went to “people” on my Linkedin home page and typed in “System Testing.” David Carpin (open endorser) came up #3 on the first page of Linkedin’s people search for “System Testing,” yet those words are not listed anywhere else on his profile, except as a skill.

    Also what I found interesting, is that listing skills that are not listed as skills per se, using Linkedin’s “Skills & Expertise tool,” are still found as well.

    This could be very helpful if something is a popular keyword at Google Adwords, but isn’t yet listed as a skill using Linkedin’s Skill & Expertise tool.

    I listed “Meaningful Specifics” as a skill and my profile comes up number one for that keyword, although I did not find that skill using Linkedin’s Skill & Expertise tool, so also use Google’s ad word tool to discover skills to list for your personal branding on your profile.

    Kind regards,

    Ed Brophy
    Open Endorser Group

    “Open Endorsers are Open Networkers…only they have more skills.”

  5. Ashraf Pasha on February 26, 2013 12:36 pm

    Not sure what the fuss is about. Sometimes there are skills you dont end up adding to your profile and when someone endorses you for it i helps with the credibility to get a better job. No one really is going to hold you liable for endorsing someone, really.
    What i have recommended to Linkedin is they create two types of “follow” :
    1) as an interest in the company
    2)as a job seeker
    since linkedin is not only a social media but also very helpful for job hunters. I think this can be overlooked as not really a serious threat. I like what Ed Brophy has to say and wondering if maybe the word “endorsement” is too heavy and ought to be changed to maybe “recommend” or a thumbs up sign without showing who is “endorsing” it.

  6. M. Aldalou on February 26, 2013 1:00 pm

    Hey Ashraf, no fuss and you may think nobody is going to hold you liable but they do. We’re not speaking legally here but just social credibility. How can you endorse someone for being a painter if you’ve never seen them paint before.

    All the writer is saying is we need to be careful and fair.


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