Linkedin rolled out their endorsement feature sometime last year and I thought it would be a good thing. Let me tell you why it's a bunch of crap. And you shouldn't trust it.
For me as a Linkedin user, the feature is annoying and frankly pretty useless. I get so annoyed by notifications of people endorsing me and for Linkedin asking me to endorse others that I don't even pay much attention to it.
But annoyances aside, let me tell you why this feature is pretty unreliable.
I'm a pretty open guy, and on most networks, if you add me, friend me, follow me, I am okay with that. If I have to allow you to follow me then I do. After all, these are networks used to connect with people so I'm happy to do that.
The part that makes the Linkedin endorsements crap is that there is absolutely no filter or criteria to help build some context around the endorsements.
Anyone can give you an endorsement. Problem number one. The topics are created by you, there is no verification or validity. That's problem number two. And Linkedin touts these endorsements as a useful way of vetting someone you want to hire or do business with. That's problem number 3, and im sure I could find out more problems.
But I hope you heed my warning, do not trust these endorsements. Stick to personal references, real interviews and the history of a person before you hire them or launch a partnership.
Here's a perfect example of this. I received this this morning. It prompted me to write this short post for you:
You see, I don't actually know Jean Blalock. Linkedin says we've been connected since November 2012, but that doesn't mean anything to me. She most likely requested to connect but hasnt actually contacted me. She might be a connection hoarder.
The problem is compounded by her inability to understand how endorsements are supposed to work. And unfortunately this is not isolated to Jean here. It happens to many people that think they're "helping" you by giving you these endorsements.
Jean's intentions are certainly good here, she's trying to help me out (and thank you Jean). But it doesn't help. And it doesn't help you. Because the fact is that Jean and I have never, ever worked together.
There is a remote possibility that she endorsed me about "Linux" because she read some of my blogposts or forum answers about Linux and thought that I did a terrific job in that sense. But that's pretty doubtful and I'm pretty sure that's not the case here.
She probably just found one of the topics I have listed in my profile and decided to endorse it. But even if she tried helping by highlighting a prominent topic on my profile. What does that mean to you? What does it mean that I have one more endorsement about Linux?
Does that mean that I know how to install it? Does that mean that I know how to fix it? Develop on it? troubleshoot it? Does this talk about beginner skills or advanced knowledge?
Nothing. It doesn't tell you anything about me. This is why Linkedin endorsements are pure crap. They're empty. They're just a ploy to get you to stay on the site longer and "interact" more. And to some degree, to all the LION types, it's a way to keep them busy and make them feel useful. Like: "yeah, I gave 50 endorsements today, I helped 50 people out today." Really, some people believe that.