Linkedin recently introduced a new feature that allows your connections to endorse specific skills you’ve listed on your profile in addition to the general recommendation they can write about you. This is great validation, in theory, of a person’s skills. Anybody can claim they are great at SEO, for example, but one person having 50 endorsements for their SEO work versus someone with none should help weed out unfounded claims.


I’ll Scratch Your Back So That You’ll Scratch Mine

The problem I’ve seen with this change is that people have started loosely giving Linkedin endorsements in the hopes of getting them in return. It’s as though some have said “I’m going to dedicate 2 hours today of endorsing half my connection list. That’ll get me a million endorsements in return!”

When you suddenly get an endorsement from someone you haven’t talked to or been affiliated with in ages, it might just be a way of their reaching out to reconnect, right? But what if the skills they’ve endorsed you for are things they’ve never seen in action? What if they have no real way of knowing that about you in the time they’ve been absent from your life? It’s obviously a half-hearted endorsement.

While it might look good for me to get a bunch of endorsements, how polluted is Linkedin going to get with phony endorsements if this becomes the new strategy? Endorsements aren’t going to mean much if they’re given loosely and without purpose. As Dave Wolinsky wrote in an article entitled “Why Linkedin’s Endorsements Are Awful But You Should Use Them Anyway,” this is also another item to congest the news feeds that is less meaningful than an actual recommendation — which is personalized. Linkedin Endorsements are, as Dave put it, “just random fist bumps from your Rolodex.”

Luckily this seems to have  worn down a bit, so maybe that type of thing happening was just a burst of “Me, Me, ME!” when the concept was new. Time will tell.