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Endorsement feature degrades Linkedin as a professional network

Users complain that the website’s latest feature has no value
Fri Oct 19 2012, 16:55
LinkedIn offices

BUSINESS SOCIAL NETWORK Linkedin's Endorsements feature has not been well received by users, with many taking to the professional network's website to complain that it is devaluing profiles.

According to Linkedin, the addition is intended to make it easier to recognise people for their skills and expertise. Linkedin users can either endorse their contacts from a new Skills & Expertise section, or select or suggest skills at the top of their profile.

Linkedin is certainly endorsing its Endorsements feature, splashing it across the top of users' profile pages, asking, "Does ... have these skills or expertise?" It then offers a long list of possible options that you can easily click to endorse that person for.

If you choose to skip the step, it then brings up another box asking, "What skills or expertise do your other connections have?" and listing four new users and what they might be skilled in. On your own profile page, you're now shown who has endorsed you recently at the top.

We were also alerted to the new feature by the flurry of emails telling us we'd been endorsed for all sorts of skills, sometimes by close contacts, other times by people we'd never heard of.

Many Linkedin users have taken to the professional network to air their complaints about Endorsements.

"As an employer, I don't think that I'd want to hear an opinion on someone's abilities that hadn't been carefully thought out. What would be the point?" one noted on a Linkedin forum.

"As the feature stands, it's really just eye-candy for Linkedin, perhaps catching the attention of an employer but quickly fading away under detailed scrutiny."

Another complained, "I think the endorsements are silly. It's like 'recommendation lite'. If you want to recommend somebody, take the time to write one. I am making it a practice not to endorse any skill that I haven't had the opportunity to see someone demonstrate."

Some could see value if the feature was used in a certain way.

"I would say this is a great way to endorse someone you know and whom you have worked with," said one user. "I make it a point to endorse ONLY the person whom I know and worked with closely, also ONLY on the skills I know he has contributed, in my professional association with him."

They do make good points, we think. The accepted way to recommend a competent, skilled professional is to write a letter of recommendation. Simply clicking on a website button cannot be nearly as sincere. µ


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