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Why I'm not 'Endorsing' anyone

Every day, it seems, I’m getting emails from LinkedIn telling me that people have ‘endorsed’ me. It’s all very flattering, but I’m...

Every day, it seems, I’m getting emails from LinkedIn telling me that people have ‘endorsed’ me. It’s all very flattering, but I’m refusing to play the game – I’m not endorsing anyone. “Why not?” I hear you ask. Why would I not want to recognise the genuine attributes of my trusted contacts? Well, there are a few reasons.

Firstly, on a practical note, I have just under a 1000 contacts (I’m not showing off, just stating facts) and consequently it would take me an inordinately large amount of time to go through the whole list to see who is worthy of endorsing what. I could, of course, endorse those people who have just endorsed me, but that would be unfair – some of these I have quite tenuous connections with, and I’m not sure if I could provide an objective and robust judgement on their attributes and skills. And if it’s been a few years since I met them, it’s possible I don’t even remember them. (I know, I know, it's shocking, isn't it.) So if I can’t do it fairly and evenly, I’m not going to do it at all.

But more than that, I think the whole premise is a bit flawed. From LinkedIn’s point of view, the benefits are pretty obvious: they are trying to get people to increase their use of the platform, believing that the more they use it, the more useful it will be, and the better they will be able to derive revenue from it. But from my perspective, it’s a needless and fairly superficial add-on. Endorsements are a development of, but at the same time a dumbing down of, the ‘recommendations’ functionality that has been on LinkedIn for a while, and seems to provide a meaningful way for an individual to build their credentials through their network.

Endorsements, by contrast, are a facile extension of this process, making the process too easy to have any real value – you just have to tick a box, not even having to think about constructing a paragraph to justify your recommendation. It’s a pretty brainless exercise – and it seems to me that many people are using it say ‘yes, I know that you do this” (in my case, writing, for example) but not if you’re actually any good at it or not. And by doing this, that I’ll endorse them back by return.

To me, it smacks of LinkedIn’s ongoing efforts to make its platform more and more like Facebook, where ‘likes’ proliferate through ease of access rather than genuine merit. Again, I understand why LinkedIn is doing this – they are riding the wave of consumerisation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I think it’s a good or valuable thing. It don’t and it isn’t. Rather than empowering more usage, it’s a gimmick that is undermining a genuinely useful business tool. My advice: lose the endorsements LinkedIn.

Finally, if you’re thinking I’m being a bit ‘bah humbug’ about this, you’re absolutely right (it certainly wouldn’t be the first time!). But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.