Two social media events this week caused my ISP to shudder with traffic overload. One was the highly publicized, and ill-considered, tweet from KitchenAid during the Presidential Debate on Wednesday. The second was the launch of the new Endorsement feature on LinkedIn.
In the span of a few hours my Twitter and LinkedIn feeds started to resemble the White House tickertape during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Here’s the thing, I consider both of them poorly-thought-through, rookie maneuvers.
KitchenAid is another in a long line of “Sh*t, I accidentally posted from my Job not my Private account” imbecilic moves. The social media managers who made the same mistake at the US Red Cross and for Chrysler in Detroit likely don’t have to worry about the FBI, NSA and Secret Service following their every move. Here’s hoping Obama is in a forgiving mood.
The launch of Endorsements on LinkedIn had me scratching my head with equal abandon.
Why are you being a Hater Hilton?
Quite simply because I consider this feature the least sincere, least-worthy benchmark of my professional ability I could imagine. It is the professional version of a Facebook “Like” and carries with it about as much engagement and effort on the part of the Endorser.
For the record I’m a staunch advocate and super-user of LinkedIn. I belong to numerous groups and try to actively contribute to those and the Q&A sections regularly. Additionally, as an Independent Marketing consultant, LinkedIn is a pipeline for new connections and business development. It is without equal in those areas.
But here’s the crux of the matter…
With the Recommendations feature, the person writing the recommendation had to take time to consider what they wanted to say, to articulate what service you’d provided that warranted a Recommendation. It took effort and, as any Social Media 101 class would tell you, the more effort, the more “engagement” on the part of the user, the higher the perceived value of that comment.
To repeat…the higher the perceived value of that comment.
I am proud of the 50 or so Recommendations I’ve garnered. The colleagues, clients and partners who took time to write those were invested in our relationship and valued my contribution to that relationship.
Recommendations had an ancillary benefit too. They improved your search rankings within LinkedIn. The more Recommendations, the higher your name ranked when folks were searching for skills/talent. That’s all good and in my mind totally appropriate. Highly recommended folks should naturally rise to the top – social media Darwinism perhaps?
Isn’t there an Upside to Endorsements?
Sure there is. The folks at Saqui Research wrote an interesting blog on how Endorsements can provide insight into how your network actually perceives you. If you consider yourself spectacular at Marmalade Making and list it in the Skills section of your profile, you’d hope you’re getting endorsements aplenty for it. However, if your network endorses your Balloon Animal skills higher then there’s a disconnect. A perceived gap between your perceptions and your network’s perception of you. Something, that if you track your Endorsements, you can attempt to rectify.
Sound logic? Sure.
But that still doesn’t reduce the notion that an Endorsement can be given so arbitrarily. One click, done. No reflection. Almost zero effort required.
My three biggest concerns
- Endorsements become more important for LinkedIn search rankings than Recommendations. Why is that a worry? Re-read the “Hater” section above.
- Endorsements become the next “must have” social media currency causing the next “Arms Race” to collect the most. Just as “Likes” diminished the perceived value of certain Facebook metrics, Endorsements will have that same effect on LinkedIn.
- This is a thinly-veiled traffic building tactic for LinkedIn. By creating low-involvement currency tools like this, they can attract more traffic volume to the site – see point 2 above.
Am I being a curmudgeon on this topic? Do Endorsements really enhance the perceived expertise of the professional they are attached to? Do you put more faith in them than a Recommendation?
Please ping me back and, while you’re on my LI profile page, feel free to add a few words. Click the “Send Recommendation” button…
Photo credit: My thanks to Alfonso Bedoya from the 1948 John Huston film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.