Networked or Just Worked? LinkedIn’s Shiny, New Endorsements Buttons

You may have seen the shiny, new skills endorsement tools on LinkedIn.  Is endorsing a useful enhancement or a troublesome distraction? 

I’ve noticed just this week (November 2012) that all sorts of people, from students to college deans and company CEOs are updating their skills lists.   Probably that endorsements button is the reason.

If there’s something I’ve noticed into 2013 (when I updated this post) the endorsements button pushing, especially with those you like and respect, resembles a friendly hand wave; it’s fun!

 

Shiny button, photo by tristanf, Flickr

 

This response is to what some say is the “shiny new toy” of LinkedIn’s endorsements  function.

Here’s a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros

It’s EASY.   It takes mere seconds to endorse one or more of your contact’s particular skills pulled from your contact’s profile.  ALL you have to do is click, versus the 10 minutes to 30 minutes a recommendation might require.  That’s a HUGE difference!

  • INC.com says that by looking “at several profiles, it’s clear that in just a few weeks, many users have generated way more endorsements than five years worth of recommendations.”

It’s FUN!   It’s quite similar to a game.   When logging in to LinkedIn, lately, users are shown a screen with four people who your are able to easily endorse.

One click on and you can instantly endorse up to four people.  Viola!

You can also visit your contacts’ profiles and decide there what skills to endorse based on seeing their complete skills list (if completed.)

How you can see who endorsed you on your LinkedIn profile

(Due to this new feature, new skill additions are popping up as LinkedIn network updates as fast as holiday season on-line advertising.)

It RENEWS connections.   This could be a great way to affirm good things you know to be true from working with those well-known colleagues, clients and other contacts. Networks make the competitive world of business work.  It’s also a way to pay it forward by endorsing others.

Cons:

It might be TOO easy. The temptation may be to use the endorse function with those you met only briefly. Developing relationships (not just contacts) means that giving endorsements judiciously will help guard against creating superficiality in your business relationships.

Gaming for Influence via Junk Profiles:  Forbes Blogger, Pam Moore, writes:

  • Endorsements are of course good, when they mean something.

As for LinkedIn’s endorsements, she laments the change:

“Until recently LinkedIn was one of the last standing social networks where real business people could connect without feeling pressured to play the social search game.”

She describes her dismay when staff from  her team searched those claiming bragging rights for their social search ranking on LinkedIn via Twitter, and says that they were, “honestly shocked with the result.”

  • Profiles stuffed with nothing but keywords. Entire job descriptions and companies made up with buzzwords. No wonder they are ranking top of search.
  • Profiles populated with 20+  jobs that are fake. Some are adding 20 or more fake jobs and companies where the company is a skill versus a job. One or two I can see, but 20?

Example of an actual LinkedIn job description composed primarily of repeating keywords in order to rank high in search.

 

Those commenting on other blogs suggest the following:

  • I think the theory is good, but it’s too easily gamed.   I don’t recommend any of our clients go to any extra effort to secure endorsements.
  • More and more clutter on my Home page will drive people like me away from the service. I just want to know what they are up to lately.
  • As another commenter stated, it’s too easy to give recommendations, and when everyone is “super”, then no one is.

 

Will the new skill endorsements be useful? Are they signal or noise?

 

The social-media-meets-internet-marketing endorsements seems to have created some problems for LinkedIn. 

Among your own list of connections, however, you may be seeing more appropriate use.

someecards.com - Here's my card. Will you please endorse me on LinkedIn for tweeting with cats?

If LinkedIn’s tinkering is useful to the majority of business users, time and business will soon tell. 

If you have a perspective on using endorsements, do share a word or two in the comments on via social media.

This post launches a new Tech Tuesday set of occasional technology posts, geared to be highly relevant to clients and friends.

Thanks for stopping by.  ~  Deb

 

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6 Responses to “Networked or Just Worked? LinkedIn’s Shiny, New Endorsements Buttons”

  1. Bill LeGray says:

    Working together virtally, we cannot turn to talk to each other across the room, and I expect this subject has been discussed among colleagues many times (when convenient). Personally, I waded into giving and taking endorsements slowly because of the pros and cons mentions, I did find that there is a loto of legitimacy and good will and appeciation exchanged on a widespead basis. I think most people recognize the endorsements do not carry the “import” that LinkedIn recommendations do. But, the other thing is the focsing on our respective “skills list.” It organizes our thinking and the endorsements “talk to us” regardcing what our connections are thinking and doing in their respective locations with their respective orientations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and starting this discussion, Deb.
    Best wishes,
    Bill LeGray

  2. Deborah Nystrom says:

    Bil, your comment has both pros and the cons of this new feature also listed. I think it is a mixed blessing, and, as you point out, it does have value. If nothing else, it is intriguing to see what your connections find endorse-able from skills lists.

    On the other side, from the critiques, will skill endorsements help individual profiles or just end up making them more spammy? It’s a little too early, just now, to tell.

  3. [...] last tech post on REVELN was about a review of LinkedIn endorsements here.  You can also follow my tech posts more regularly on one of these curation streams described [...]

  4. […] "You may have seen the shiny, new skills endorsement tools on LinkedIn. Is endorsing a useful enhancement or a troublesome distraction?" As a curator of tech topics in social media, this is one of my own posts with input from social media specialists on what they think of LinkedIn's new endorsements function. Excerpts, Pros & Cons PROS:It’s EASY. It takes mere seconds to endorse one or more of your contact’s particular skills pulled from your contact’s profile. It RENEWS connections. This could be a great way to affirm good things you know to be true from working with those well-known colleagues, clients and other contacts.Cons:It might be TOO easy. – The temptation may be to use the endorse function with those you met only briefly. Gaming for Influence via Junk Profiles: Forbes Blogger, Pam Moore, writes:Endorsements are of course good, when they mean something.She describes her dismay when staff from her team searched those claiming bragging rights for their social search ranking on LinkedIn via Twitter, and says that they were, “honestly shocked with the result.” See my full post here via Networked or Just Worked on LinkedIn?  […]

  5. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
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  6. The full name is Deborah Nystrom. The cited post is by Forbes Blogger, Pam Moore.

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