LinkedIn introduced a new feature this week., endorsements based on keywords. On the surface this might look like a great idea. After all getting people to actually write you a recommendation can be difficult and time consuming but if all they have to do is click a button well that should speed the process up.
In fact this model seems to have been copied directly from Klout – the influence measuring site. Klout introduced +K months ago and while it too seemed like a reasonable idea at the time it didn’t take long for people to find the flaw in the system. The very same flaw that LinkedIn’s system suffers from.
The flaw is simply that any user you are connected to as part of your professional network can give you an endorsement for any category of expertise that you have added – great so far, but here is the catch, they can also add any that they think you have omitted. Yes, they can add anything they like. Now on Klout this is not an issue, because, while it’s proponents would want you to believe that it is a serious platform, it really hasn’t established the level of professional kudos that LinkedIn has up to now.
Take a look at the screenshot from a friend of mine – Eric Swayne – who posted this to his Facebook timeline. Now this was just a bit of fun between friends, but imagine if instead it had been less well thought through? Perhaps instead of Snorkeling he had been endorsed in “Strip Clubs” or “Douchebaggery” or something equally unprofessional. Sure you, as a user can delete an endorsement, but first you have to notice it. If you aren’t someone who reads all those emails from social networks updating you or you don’t hang out on LinkedIn regularly that could be out there for a while and let’s remember this is your online resume.
While I get what LinkedIn was attempting, I think this is poorly executed.
What do you think? Would you be annoyed if someone gave you an endorsement in Poodles?
Eric is holding a webinar on October 18th on “Measuring What Matters In Social” – Details here