I signed up at LinkedIn years ago, and have used it to keep in touch with contacts I have worked with or knew professionally over the years. Some folks with whom I have connected I knew briefly, some I’ve known for a long time.
A month or three ago I started getting email from LinkedIn saying “So-and-so has endorsed you for the following skills” and then it lists some of the things I claim to know something about on my profile. When it first happened, I went to “So-and-so’s” page, and endorsed them right back. I figure someone named So-and-so could use all the positive reinforcement they could get, you know?
I thought it was pretty awesome that this person logged into LinkedIn and took the time to go to my page, review my skills, and say “Yep, he’s not lying. He knows about Microsoft Windows Server.” Stand up guy, that So-and-so! I’ll kill him last. (Disclaimer: Obviously I’m not killing anybody… I just like to say that. Even if I were elected supreme overlord and dictator for life, I wouldn’t kill So-and-so. …I’d have someone else do it.)
Over the next couple of days, I got more endorsements, and some were from people I hadn’t talked to in a while. “Gee,” I thought… “I didn’t realize they still cared!” I mozied on over to their pages, and returned the favor. Another couple days went by and the endorsements continued to pour in, until I got one from someone I never actually knew. I don’t even recall connecting to this person. Then later, I got an endorsement from someone I knew only barely, and don’t recall ever talking about work at all, much less the thing for which she endorsed me.
I got curious, and logged into my LinkedIn account directly, instead of clicking the endorser’s profile link that comes in the email. At the top of the page was four people listed… I took a picture here. I have blanked out their names, but I didn’t edit the pictures of their faces at all.
It all makes sense now.
I will admit, I was a little disappointed. Nobody was going to my page to actively seek out something nice to say about how my skills have benefited them in the past. In fact, I very well just could have been one of the four faces who showed up on there, and in the interest of getting that page out of their way, they could have just hit “Endorse all 4”.
Very clever, LinkedIn. Not only did you trick me into thinking someone gave a rat’s ass about my Active Directory skills, but you got me to go to their page, and actually THINK about my relationship with that person, and say something nice. Of course, they probably just think they showed up on my page with an easy “Endorse All” button… Which frankly I find to be worthless. If I were looking at someone’s page, considering them for employment, their endorsements would mean absolutely nothing to me. Recommendations, yes. These little traffic-generating schemes of yours, LinkedIn… No.
There’s a seriously strong urge burning in my gut to answer some of these “Does this guy know about” questions in a smart ass manner… Do he know about submittals? I’m sure he does… Who doesn’t? If he doesn’t know exactly what they are, I’m sure he’s aware they exist, or heard the word.
Does angry-face know about feasibility studies? I could probably figure it out if I examined some information, but it sounds possible.
Does blue eyes know about Adobe Creative Suite? She’s in marketing and graphic design, so I’m sure she’s aware it exists. Does she use it well? Who knows, not me… But the question is “does she know about it.” I’m comfortable saying yes, she’s knows about it. Possible recruiters will be happy to know that I think she’s aware of it. She probably knows about constellations, and the bird flu, and coronal mass ejections too.
This whole endorsement thing seems like nothing more than LinkedIn trying to figure out how to get people to come back to their page and see what’s going on, and hopefully click an advertisement or two. I do not see how these endorsements could possibly help anyone professionally, since they’re so trivially awarded. “Click this button to have an email show up in the other person’s inbox with your name on it, and increase the chance that you’ll get an email with theirs.”
I’ve decided not to endorse anyone, and wait for this fad to pass. In my opinion, it’s little more than a spam-generating ploy by LinkedIn to increase web traffic, and hopefully gain more money from people clicking on ads from their site.
Do you “endorse all four” when you go to your LinkedIn page?