LinkedIn endorsements: why I don’t think they are going away

Yesterday on my flight back from Dusseldorf I read this post by Rene Siegel on why she thinks LinkedIn Endorsements are going away.

I beg to differ because I think Rene is a victim of her own mis-use of LinkedIn, stated clearly in her own words:

Today, I received LinkedIn endorsements of my skills from five people I’ve never met.

There’s no way these people have any context for my ability to deliver the skills and expertise they endorsed. Don’t get me wrong. LinkedIn is still an invaluable tool for my business and I’ve written about it before. But I’m worried about these endorsements, which feel an awful lot like a popularity contest.

Of course, the quality of judgements people express on your professionalism is a direct consequence of how well people know you, which in turn is a direct consequence of the approach we have decided to take in building our network.

My choice was obviously different from Rene’s, inasmuch I have strived not to accept connection requests by people I do not know IRL; and looking at the numbers, these would represent a significant share of my connections (213 over 1200+ connections); it is true that the endorsement mechanism mimicks the ease of use of the “like” button and henceforth it should not be given too much weight; moreover, a certain level of background noise (i.e. random endorsements) is inevitable, so I usually consider only the big numbers: yes, someone endorsed me for my proficiency in using Microsoft Office. As someone coming from Lotus Development more or less straight into the Mac world, this is unlikely to be one of my strong suits, but what the hell.

Had I accepted these additional 200+ connections from people I’ve never met, I would significantly dilute how well my LinkedIn network represents my IRL network and, as a consequence, how realistic is the skill picture that this network paints of me, especially given that I have received endorsements from less that 10% of my connections.

So my suggestion to Rene (and anyone who wants to have an endorsement picture that’s more realistic) to start doing some spring cleaning, keeping only as a connection people who know her.


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