There’s no doubt about it. LinkedIn is a powerful networking and connections tool. As a platform for your skills, career history and interests, it’s phenomenal. Universally recognised, you know every future employee, co-worker, associate and client will be checking you out before getting in touch.
But one feature of LinkedIn sours me to the very depths of my soul.
Taking the endorsement scenario offline, imagine this: You’ve just passed a car mechanic on the street.
You clocked it because of its convenient location. It’s perfectly justifiable to recommend that business then, based on its location. But would you ever tell someone that Garage specialises in classic cars, provides MOTs or courtesy cars without categorically knowing if they do? Of course not! You’d look a right twat.
Now take that online, to your LinkedIn profile. Would you recommend me for marketing based on what you know of me? Yeah sure, please do, it’s clear I’m a marketer. Would you endorse me for PR? Several people have. But why? Because although I worked at length for a PR agency I have never done PR. Nor publicity, and yet others have endorsed me for that skill, too.
But LinkedIn can’t distinguish that with their automated suggestions. And they’ve introduced that big juicy button haven’t they, allowing you to endorse four people at once. And it’s 3pm and you’re a little bored and of course you go click, click, click. Holy sh!t! What have you done?! But it’s too quick. You’ve endorsed, and its gone. There’s no chance to consider if the skills you’ve endorsed actually exist, if you’ve seen them in action.
So, getting annoyed with this, I added this to my LinkedIn profile:
I love connecting with people, on- and offline. But if I don’t know you, please include a couple of lines about why you’d like to connect on LinkedIn. It will help me, in turn, connect and recommend you to the right people. Thanks.
99% of the strangers who invite me to connect do not read this and provide no reason for connecting. So, I don’t connect with them. Why? Because they can endorse me and know NOTHING ABOUT ME! It’s frankly embarrassing that this profile, this online platform for clients, employees and co-workers to inspect could carry endorsements from people who know nothing about my skills, ability, character or ambitions.
I know, I know, I can delete them. LinkedIn is guessing and getting better at guessing as time goes on. But…no! Do not endorse something you can not categorically confirm with first-hand or word-of-mouth experience. Do you agree? Who needs educating? LinkedIN, me or the users at large who like pressing buttons?