Why LinkedIn Endorsements are full of crap

If you’re like me, you have a zillion people you’re connected to on LinkedIn. Okay, maybe it’s 500+ but it’s a lot of people. My policy on LinkedIn connection requests is that I need to know you – like at least have met you at a TweetUp or cocktail party or through a friend or something. To me, it’s a quality vs. quantity thing. In any case, there are people who I’ve connected with because I met them through a vendor pitch process or at a networking event, but the reality is…do they really know me enough to endorse me?

Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love a ringing endorsement? Someone telling you you’re great at something. That is totally awesome. But, my question with the new LinkedIn “Endorsement” feature is – does an endorsement really matter when it’s from someone that you either don’t know or, more importantly, doesn’t know you? My theory is not so much. In my opinion, there’s a big difference between someone spending the time to write you a recommendation and someone endorsing you using this new feature. A recommendation is typically from someone I know and, more importantly, someone who knows me and my work WELL. Not just someone I met for 15 minutes who now says I am an expert in digital marketing. Um, really? LinkedIn has made it super-easy to endorse someone with the click of a button but, seriously, the guy who just endorsed me for partnerships and analytics was someone I met through a friend at a bar. So, I guess that’s a partnership, right? 🙂

I read a post on Community Organizer 2.0 that described it perfectly,

It leaves both the person being endorsed, and the person reading a Linkedin profile, in this awkward predicament of asking: are your endorsements real? To what extent does the person endorsing your skills have knowledge of your skill base and expertise? Conversely, how ethical is it for you to accept an endorsement from someone you haven’t worked with professionally, but who knows of your work?

So, what’s your opinion on the new LinkedIn endorsements feature? I am actually surprised that LinkedIn would build in such a superficial and non-legit feature. For a hard-core networking site – the social network for professionals – building in random features to get people to click around feels like a complete stretch. And, puts into question who these random people are who are endorsing you. PS: Who says “digital marketing” anyhow? Lamesauce.

My $.02. Tell me yours.

Tags: LinkedIn, LinkedIn endorsements, Marketing, Networking, rants
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