Few things more futile than LinkedIn endorsements
Skill inflation and sucking up are rampant on the social network
Endorsing “is moronic, irritating and serves no purpose at all – apart from proving beyond a doubt that the tens of millions of endorsers on LinkedIn possess two skills in particular: brown-nosing and time-wasting”.
Last week I visited my moribund profile on LinkedIn to find at the top of the page a message that said: “Your connections Dominic, Louise and Clive have endorsed you for new skills and expertise.”
The three of them evidently think I’m pretty talented, which is nice to know. Variously they attest to my possessing seven skills: newspaper; magazines; journalism; copy editing; business journalism; editorial and newspapers.
This would be flattering were it not for two things. The first is that I’ve never heard of any of them, let alone worked with them. The second is that half the things they cite aren’t skills. Newspaper – either in the singular or plural – most certainly is not a skill: it is a dying product. Copy editing is a skill but, alas, it is one I don’t have.
Of all the things about LinkedIn I do not understand, this craze of “endorsing” one another’s “skills” is the most baffling.
It’s not just Dominic, Louise and Clive who are indiscriminately pressing the endorse button. Since the feature was introduced last September, an orgy of endorsing has been going on. By December, 550 million endorsements had been made and, as of the end of July, the number had reached two billion. Every week 50 million are being handed out.
Value of rating
In theory, it could be jolly useful to have a way of rating colleagues for their skills. It would mean being able to see at a glance how good people were at certain things – making us all better at getting the right person into the right job.
In practice, it means nothing of the sort: it is moronic, irritating and serves no purpose at all – apart from proving beyond a doubt that the tens of millions of endorsers on LinkedIn possess two skills in particular: brown-nosing and time-wasting.
Yet the system is being taken worryingly seriously. According to LinkedIn, your profile is four times as likely to be viewed when your skills have been endorsed.
There are some obvious things wrong with this. For a start, half the people doing the endorsing don’t have the first idea if you have the skills or not. Or they are your mother-in-law. Or they only want to endorse you if you endorse them back.
The next drawback is that there is only room for endorsing and none for doing the opposite. There is no “denounce” button on LinkedIn. You can remove an endorsement you have already given, but that is as far as it goes.