LinkedIn recently rolled out its latest feature – LinkedIn Endorsements. As one blogger put it, think Facebook Likes or Klout K+ and you already get the idea.
In a post on the LinkedIn blog, here's how LinkedIn Product Manager Dan Breger describes Endorsements:
"With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they've listed on their profile or recommend one they haven't added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!
Here's how you can endorse your connections:
- On the top of a connection's profile, you'll see recommended endorsements for them. You can suggest additional skills as well.
- You can also endorse them from the new Skills & Expertise section that now showcases these endorsements.
Want to see who has endorsed you? We'll notify you via email and on LinkedIn whenever you are endorsed. You can scroll to the bottom of your profile page under "Skills and Expertise" to see the faces of people who think you're great at what you do. You can also accept any new skills recommended by your peers that you may not have thought to include on your profile. Or you can also add a new skill by clicking on "add a skill" on your profile page."
As you can see, the Endorsements feature is directly tied to the Skills and Expertise feature on your LinkedIn profile. If you've filled out a few skills in this area, then your contacts can endorse those skills.
The question then becomes – is this new feature worth your time and effort? Does it really mean anything to your – no pun intended – clout on LinkedIn?
We live in an SEO driven world and LinkedIn is a master platform for SEO integration. So, any feature that highlights keywords is a good thing.
By laying out your skills and expertise, then having endorsements for those areas you bring these skills to the attention of clients and prospects. So, that's good.
It also allows your peers to endorse you in one click, allowing them to endorse you without going through the longer process of writing a recommendation. Also good.
Without going down the rabbit hole of social media shortening the conversation and therefore robbing us of true human interaction, let me say this type of feature is slightly concerning.
First, it shortcuts the recommendation process. Anyone that you're connected to can endorse you, without an explanation for the endorsement. It's an easy out – and a way to "rack up numbers." I found myself watching endorsements as they came to see who endorsed me and for what skills.
Second, it may not be incredibly accurate. For instance, a colleague of mine has her Skills and Expertise section filled out on her profile, and it includes Public Speaking, Leadership Development, and others. It also included PowerPoint – because she's a speaker and thought that skills were relevant (she does killer PPT presentations!). As a result, she's been endorsed for her PowerPoint skills. Not relevant to her potential client base.
Finally, it falls into the same trap that LinkedIn has developed with Recommendations, Answers and Connections. There are "professional" answerers and connectors, and those who rack up recommendations just for the thrill of achieving a high number. They miss the point of community on LinkedIn, and the quality of the connections you develop.
I am a huge advocate of LinkedIn's model of sitting back and watching other platforms, then developing similar features they believe will be good for their members. Look at the Company page feature and its ability to have people follow, like and share content. The Status Bar is a "Twitter-like" feature that has changed the way we communicate on LinkedIn.
That being said, I think the LinkedIn Endorsements feature is, at least initially, not an added value to the LinkedIn experience. I have talked to many LinkedIn users that feel the same way. Check back with me in a few months and see if I've changed my thinking. Oh, and don't forget the peer pressure aspect – if you endorse someone and they see that you did so, they may feel obligated to endorse you as well. Huh?
In the next few weeks, I'll share a conversation I recently had with LinkedIn's Global Marketing Director, Alison Engel about LinkedIn Marketing Services. Stay tuned to hear learn Alison had to say, and how you can take advantage of this dynamic LinkedIn service – often for free!
Want to connect on LinkedIn? Send me an invite and I'll gladly accept your invitation!