Most Fistful of Talent readers I am sure by now are familiar with and have probably spent some time on the quasi-addictive new LinkedIn feature called ‘Endorsements’. For those folks looking for a little more background on the LinkedIn Endorsement game check our fearless leader Kris Dunn’s take over on the HR Capitalist. Kris’ piece, as well as a few others I have seen lately, rightly question the validity, accuracy, and relevance of these endorsements, mainly due to the incredible non-thinking manner in which they can be given, as well as the near-impossibility of assessing the veracity and the reliability of the actual connections that have bestowed most of the endorsements.
It’s a kind of game, but mostly a harmless one, as it seems fairly unlikely, (and definitely unprofessional and lazy), that any serious talent professional would place too much stock in any specific individual’s collection and distribution of these shallow, one-click, two-seconds, sort-of recommendations. Because if they were at all accurate and relevant today, then my top endorsed skill would be ‘BBQ’, instead of it ranking about tenth on my profile. I assure you, BBQ is about the only thing I do really, really and consistently well.
So if we can, and I think we can, agree in the talent space that these endorsements are not something to take very seriously, at least not yet, then why such a firestorm of criticism about them? Why so many articles, blog posts, and snarky tweets? Is it because, well, anything that LinkedIn does is going to be newsworthy? Partially.
But I suspect the true reason is that Kris and the other folks that have expressed pretty strong and mostly negative opinions about the Endorsement game were on to something a little more important. Namely, that these ‘endorsements’, which seem to be definitely taking off in popularity across the LinkedIn platform, are really just the initial step in what could one day become for users of LinkedIn a professional identity that is much, much different than the one which they've become accustomed. This new identity will be more ‘open’, fluid, and in what is the most interesting (and dangerous) aspect – be one that is created