Sunday, December 2, 2012

LinkedIn Endorsements

LinkedIn Endorsements: you've probably received some.  Maybe you've given some.  I'm pretty much ignoring them.

I've been endorsed for software skills by people who have no software experience.  Friends and relatives endorse each other even though they have no first-hand experience with that person's skills.  It's like measuring a person's likability based on how many times they've been "liked" on FaceBook - it has more to do with the number of people you're connected to.  Popularity is not a measure of skill mastery.

The cynical part of me thinks LinkedIn created them as a mental virus for the sole purpose of getting people to sign in more often, so they can get their ads to more eyeballs.  (The cynical part of you might be saying, "Duh!")  Similar to chain letters, the system asks you to endorse your connections, which sends emails, which prompts those people to sign on and issue endorsements.

All that said, I don't want to be antisocial.  If you want me to endorse you for anything, let me know; I'll click as many skills as you like.  And thank you for the good thoughts behind your endorsements of me.

Just don't use LinkedIn endorsements to evaluate my technical skills.

FYI - I consider LinkedIn recommendations to be different.  Although they are susceptible to the same "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" reciprocity, I do consider them more useful then endorsements.  For one thing, there's a bit more accountability - your name is on your recommendation.  Also, they contain more information than a simple check mark.


Ok.  I surrender.  I went through my whole list of contacts and basically gave everybody a bunch of endorsements.  I still think they are of near-zero value, and I won't ever use them to evaluate somebody else's experience.

I guess they're kind of like valentines - sure, we all know that Valentine's day is a manufactured holiday, and is commercialized, and it's more "real" to show your love through non-scripted acts, and blah blah blah.  But you know what?  SUCK.  IT.  UP.  Give the damn Valentine card, along with a pot o' posies or a box o' chocs.  Its not rational, but since when are humans bastions of rationality?  It's just a form of social currency that you ignore at your own peril.

So yeah.  I've gone through my whole list and given lots of endorsements.  (And I got a flurry of them in return.)  One more form of social currency to contend with.

No comments: