Networking

04:13 PM
David Nour
David Nour
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea

LinkedIn's nagging automated requests to endorse others' skills are too generic to be useful to anyone. You're better served by staying in personal touch with your network.

Facebook's 2012 Highs And Lows
Facebook's 2012 Highs And Lows
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Have you noticed that every time you log into LinkedIn now it keeps pestering you to endorse the skills and knowledge of your network? It's another classic case of LinkedIn trying to abdicate the care and nurturing of your relationships to technology -- and it doesn't work.

I've been a LinkedIn Business Pro user for several years and have written extensively about all that's positive about the site's focus to become the prevailing professional social networking platform. But when you have a hammer, you begin to treat every challenge or an opportunity as a nail.

LinkedIn launched Skills and Knowledge as a functionality that few knew about, much less paid attention to or used. After all, shouldn't you be able to ascertain my skills or knowledge from my bio, background, experiences, education and recommendations?

[ Have you adapted to LinkedIn's changes? Read 5 Ways To Improve Your New LinkedIn Profile .]

By asking you to endorse the skills and knowledge of your network, it is trying to bring this new functionality front and center. Here are three fundamental problems with that:

1. Contextual Irrelevance.

Let's say I worked with Steve on a social media strategy-consulting project and am aware of his specific skills or knowledge around an influencer campaign. But what LinkedIn keeps prompting me to endorse is his graphic design skills, which I wasn't privy to in our work together and not really relevant to the context of our relationship. Does that mean that I don't have a relationship with Steve or can't endorse a skill or knowledge of his? No. It simply means that LinkedIn is taking our relationship out of context. Can I keep scrolling for his other skills? Sure, but who has the time or patience?

2. Degrees Of Competency.

Let's further say that Steve did a decent job on the above consulting engagement, but there were some areas where I thought he should have been more knowledgeable or competent. There is no way to rate the degrees of his competency or recommend areas for Steve to grow professionally in this area. Any competency metric I've always seen or have found effective gives you a range, such as a 1 to 10 or 4 out of 5 stars.

3. Weighted Endorsements. Did I work with Steve only once and experience his skills or knowledge in a very limited scope, or have we worked together on multiple projects, allowing me to see him deliver results across a spectrum of challenging scenarios? Anyone who has ever endorsed someone else knows that not all endorsements are created equal. There is no way for me to comment on each endorsement or give it more credence or credibility as to the frequency of our interactions.


Are these the endorsements you really want?

I don't know about you, but here are two other problems that give me quid pro quo heartburn:

-- I feel guilty for all these people and their skills that pop up that I have no idea they were capable of (am I the only one who keeps asking "seriously?" to many of these skills or knowledge?) Does that mean I don't really know them that well or have a strong enough relationship with them to be connected on LinkedIn? Or that they've done a poor job in branding themselves for me to realize that particular knowledge or skill was a part of their repertoire?

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 5   >   >>
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:47:52 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
I actually removed a whole lot of skills I began with to the bare minimums I thought I have a core strength in, and other people added other skills on their own! Go figure out that one!
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:46:49 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
Jim - huge point. Sociologist tell us that when we engage others, on or off line, we give a little, they take, they judge, they give a little, etc. It's this natural give & take and if they feel snubbed, would they then go elsewhere?
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:45:38 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
LinkedIn is attempting to make the site more than a destination! For them to succeed in the long run, it has to become a platform. I thought they were on their way with the apps but they pulled the plug on the whole thing. I'm confused as to where they're going next...
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:44:44 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
Good question. Again, if LinkedIn used anything like the eBay "Leave Feedback", you could simply rate it as positive, neutral, or negative and elaborate using stars (1-5) for specific attributes. I actually had an employee who I fired for incompetence ask me for a LinkedIn Recommendation!! Really?!?
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:43:23 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
MightyCasey - would you believe English is not my native language and even after 30 years, an ongoing learning edge? :-) Thank you for the endorsement...
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:42:20 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
I'm with Cara! What's badly missing from the LinkedIn endorsements are context of how we worked together or what was your direct experience in us creating some kind of a result. The other challenge here is people confuse vibration with forward motion. Just because we worked together on something, does not mean I'm an "expert" in that area!! Which is my biggest heartburn with Klout!
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 10:40:18 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
Percy - great point. I got tired of all of those, so I've turned them off under settings. Don't know about you, but I get some 300 emails a day and the last thing I need are all the notifications from the people who have (often blindly!) endorsed me!
steviethek
50%
50%
steviethek,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 8:43:51 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
Which is worse, this endorsement thing or the "Open Networkers" who "add" people regardless of their experience with the person? What's the point of that?
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 8:34:43 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
Anne - great point & agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for your comment.
David Nour
50%
50%
David Nour,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 8:33:50 PM
re: Why Soliciting LinkedIn Endorsements Is A Bad Idea
I think it's dramatically different. The recommendation or face to face endorsement have real time context about them. "Tom, meet DataJanitor (sorry - don't know your real name). He's fantastic in helping you get the cobwebs off your ugly data sets. He build an incredibly fast & agile datawarehouse for our entire team and we couldn't have done it without him!" You know me, that conversation or even letter is in real time, and I've given you more texture. The constant pestering of LinkedIn for me to endorse your meta tag skills isn't anything similar to the simple example I've provided above.
<<   <   Page 2 / 5   >   >>
Cartoon
Hot Topics
2
Why Large Data Centers Need Overlay Networks
Cisco Press, Publishing Alliance,  8/21/2014
2
Real-World SDN, Lesson 2: Conquer The Enemy Within
Symon Perriman, Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft,  8/25/2014
White Papers
Register for Network Computing Newsletters
Current Issue
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed