LinkedIn announced its new ‘Endorsements’ feature on Sept 24th. In a nutshell, it allows you to give people a endorsement for a skill they possess – all within the click of a button. When I first read about this feature, I squirmed a little, it all sounded a bit too easy. I like to give things a chance and to also trust people not to abuse such a feature. The problem with that is, that this type of easy ‘bigging up’ is nothing new; online influence measurement tool, Klout has been allowing people to give influence points for a good while now and it has been abused.

Begging for Endorsements

Taking a look at LinkedIn today, I noticed that four of the latest status updates from my connections were asking people to endorse them for various skills. The rot is setting in already. If everyone goes around asking for, and swapping endorsements, then their value is nil. There is a real issue with perceived influence across the social web and giving people the ability to synthetically build influence is only going to make things worse. Back in January 2011, I published a blog post titled ‘What the Heck is Influence Anyway?‘ – to me, it certainly isn’t a case of having a tonne of Klout points or a numerous phoney endorsements.

I Like Linked In

I really do, and its value to me has hugely increased since launching Velocity Digital. I find it a great way to connect with people I would have no access to otherwise, certain groups can be rewarding and it has always driven quality content to writing across various sites. I do worry that if it becomes a place for people to be giving out virtual ass-slaps left, right and centre then the value and quality will suffer. Recommendations on LinkedIn have always been a little sketchy and far too often reciprocal with no real reason to be. The introduction of endorsements just creates further opportunity for flimsy perceptions of knowledge and skills. The LinkedIn user-base may be too smart to let it become a race for the most endorsements – I hope so. In the meantime, I shall wait and see how the feature unfolds…

What do you think? Have you been asked to endorse someone’s skills? Will endorsements become a pest? Do you like them? Please do tell in the comments below.

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