On (B)Endorsements

Endorsements are a relatively new thing (at least on LinkedIn). There have been out there for people to prove the possession of a particular skill verified by a third person. In the past, this was done by a letter of recommendation. Now, it is a button that says “ENDORSE”. One-click it and you are done.

Yesterday, I gave my professor from school @elreiss a +Klout on “Pole Dancing”. Two weeks ago I endorsed @muiiio for “Chocolate”. And a week before that I verified @cipisec skill “Beer”. All these lads are Internet Marketing professionals. None of them is a recreational stripper, chocolate chef or a brewer. They are just guys with a sense of humour pinpointing an issue.

Ever since LinkedIn introduced endorsements, writing recommendations started fading away. In my humble opinion, they are already dead. The damage is done. This is one of the dark sides of making things easy – you generalize, you put things in boxes – all having the same size and shape, and there is no room for elaboration – “It is what it is. Deal with it!” kind of thing.

On a few occasions, I asked people I have worked with, my current manager and others that I helped out to get their digital presence going, to write me a recommendation on LinkedIn. None of them actually did come up one. But they sure endorsed me for a skill by clicking a button. This could be since recommendation writing function is at the back seats on LinkedIn, whereas the Skills endorsements occupy the front rows.  One has to be pretty well familiar with the user interface and functionalities of this particular social network.

I am sure that I am not the only one whose connections are endorsing him for skills that I never exhibited in front of them. Well, there is reciprocity and flattery that come into play here. You endorsed me, so now I will endorse you back. I want something from you, so let me grease you up first by giving a +1.

There is also the other side of the model when you help people, and instead of showing appreciation, they start trashing you on other social networks. It happens. It is part of human nature. But this is a blog post on its own.

We bend the rules of endorsement. We strike each other’s egos. We marginalize its value in front of future employers and business partners. And my question to you is WHY? Why do we do that to our professional profiles online? What is our end game here?

How do you feel about LinkedIn’s and Klout’s endorsements? Will you put a funny skill on your profile? What would it be? Should I put one? In your mind and if you know me, what should that skill be?

UPDATE: On October 14, 2014, Ilia Markov (@gospodin_i) shared his opinion on Medium with his post “LinkedIn endorsements work – And it is up to you to make sense of them“. In it, he makes some interesting observations are actually pretty plausible. Be sure to check it out!

Feel free to share your opinion in the comments and get this discussion on!

Copyright © 2013 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.