Do LinkedIn Endorsements Really Matter?
I am really tickled pink that so many people have been endorsing me lately on LinkedIn.
A few are close colleagues and friends I work with and I appreciate them for their gesture. Some endorsers haven’t seen me in forever; a few are simply connections of connections; and others, I do question if they really know exactly what I do. There’s no doubt it has probably been a while since many of us have connected in person…some, if ever.
If I understand correctly how LinkedIn is functioning, first, you are notified you have a new endorsement. At first this all seems pretty cool. I’ve been endorsed!!
LinkedIn then cues you up with the idea of paying it forward. A populated feed shows up of several of your followers and asks you whether each individual knows anything about “marketing”, or whatever expertise, drawn from their profile content. You’re asked simply, “What skills or expertise do your connections have?” Then by the click of a button you can hit “endorsed”, or type in alternate areas of expertise before endorsing, endorse all four contacts that appear at one time, or if this doesn’t appeal to you just click “X” to remove this feature.
What seemed like a nice gesture from your friendly contact now has been systematized and plagiarized by rule bound logic for you to endorse them back, which can make you feel pretty guilty if you don’t reciprocate right away.
Perhaps it is the choice of wording that LinkedIn has sabotaged by using the term “endorsement”.
Remember when an endorsement used to be a big deal? It really means receiving someone’s strong approval and their explicit sanctioning of your work and livelihood. A person’s name was known as their word and bond and they would stand by their endorsement as a seal of approval.
A person’s name was known as their word and bond and they would stand by their endorsement as a seal of approval.
Even today we endorse the back of a cheque to place one’s signature and name on it to validate who we are and to show we are the rightful recipient of the monies received. The word endorsement has a lot of weight and importance to it in my mind. Yes, occasionally, you would solicit a personal endorsement. You knew very well how important it was to be ever so respectful of the relationship you had created and the value implied by having your colleague or friend give you their personal endorsement for your own personal, marketing, political or whatever significant purpose.
I remember sending out chapters of my book with a personal letter to specific people with expertise and name recognition asking for an endorsement testimonial. The people I selected were known to me and I had met them at least once. Only two people declined – one because of a personal crisis and the other not feeling their focus was aligned with the subject of my book. Well enough said and each endorsement for my book was gratefully received.
However, as I consider the Linkedin endorsement setup every time I view my page, I think we have trivialized the term “endorsement” by making it a click away. Are gamification rules pushing us to do things we wouldn’t normally do on a regular basis? Is “endorsed” in one social media platform no better than a “like” in another?
I think we have trivialized the term “endorsement” by making it a click away.
Please know I truly I appreciate the endorsements from those people who with transparent authenticity are fully aware of what I do. I always send a personal thank you out to them for making the time to send it. But to all the others who may not know me well and seem less to know exactly what I do, thanks for the endorsement, but I don’t think I am obligated to endorse you back. Let’s be very careful not to minimize the value attributed to important words like “endorsement” and special actions that should mean so much more.
Why do you endorse certain individuals over others? Do you think we have devalued the meaning behind the term “endorsed”?
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