Why LinkedIn endorsements aren’t valuable

Has anyone had a flurry of emails in their inbox, “Contact name has endorsed you!”? Yeah, me too. But what does it actually mean, and is it actually worth anything?

Latest statistics show that some 10 million endorsements are being recorded on the site every day.  Well, that’s 10 million extra clicks on the site every day they didn’t have, but a lot of endorsements I have received lately have been from people who don’t actually know my full skillset and certainly haven’t seen me use the skills they have endorsed me for. It’s kinda turned LinkedIn into a popularity contest – are people endorsing to try and get endorsements back to look more… popular? The lack of proper, validated endorsements (meaning, by people who know me and know I am perfectly capable of the skill) says there is no value. On top of that, how does an endorsement tell someone what level of skill that person holds? I might be capable of programming in PHP, but am I an expert or do I only just scrape the barrel?

A lot of people I’ve talked to or read posts from (and indeed LinkedIn themselves) have said you should only connect on LinkedIn with people you actually know; personally I feel that goes against the point of the site in the first place. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but if you go to a business networking event would you only give your card to those people you already know? No, of course not. So why follow the same ethos on a business networking website?

My personal thoughts on LinkedIn as a whole question the very purpose of the social networking service. Granted the site has been around for a while, and I’ve been on it for quite a few years. But in those years I’ve been a member, I have only ever had one action that could be considered useful. Only the other day actually – asking me if I would be interested in contract web development work in Slough, working for Amazon. Aside from the fact I would never give up my permanent job for contract work and an unsteady future (family requires stability), the potential usefulness of that one message outweighs the scores of endorsement emails I’ve received since September.

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