Saturday, November 17, 2012
What’s Really Behind LinkedIn’s Endorsements?
By now, you’ve probably seen the latest addition to LinkedIn. The company calls it “Endorsements.”
According to LinkedIn, “As of September 30, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories.” We can all agree about LinkedIn’s purpose: users provide an overview of their professional background including education and work experience. Users can look for jobs, join groups, ask and answer questions, and above all, network. LinkedIn owns a niche market in the social media space, and it’s the leader in its space.
Previously, users aspired to add recommendations to their profiles. Recommendations could be created by co-workers, supervisors, vendors, etc. Typically, people would spend quality time to refresh themselves on an individual’s quality of work, teamwork, and successes – before writing recommendations. This was what made recommendations a valuable element of a LinkedIn profile. Whether a person was looking for a new job or building a personal brand, recommendations were important.
Fast forward to endorsements. First, users need to define their specialty areas or skills. That’s not a problem, and these strengths should be part of a person’s profile anyway. But, the problem arises when someone visits a profile – a box pops up and asks for endorsements.
People can make a decision in a fleeting second if they wish to provide an endorsement. In the same amount of time that it takes to sneeze, you can click and provide several endorsements. As a result, endorsements seem more like a popularity contest similar to a “thumbs up” or “like” from Facebook.
Was LinkedIn trying to become more like Facebook and less like a professional networking site? If so, it is interfering with its brand, and in the process, affecting the quality of its differentiation in the social media landscape.
So, are you using LinkedIn’s endorsements instead of recommendations?
Posted by Debbie Laskey, MBA