Have You Been Endorsed?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012
If you've joined LinkedIn, chances are good that you've been endorsed. Chances are also good that you received an email, telling you about an endorsement, and said, “How nice!” Followed very quickly by “Huh?”

Of course, you probably know what it means to be endorsed. But if you want to know the how-to’s of LinkedIn’s endorsement feature, just search “endorsing” in the Help tab.

I’m not sure how I feel about this new feature for writers. On the one hand, LinkedIn makes it very easy for your connections to endorse writing skills and expertise. A simple click and look! Cathy C. Hall’s been endorsed for Chicago Style.

As it happens, I think I have a fairly decent grasp of the Chicago Manual of Style's editing. And for the most part, I've been endorsed by professionals and/or editors who would have knowledge of my expertise. But I've also been endorsed by connections with whom I've never worked. How would they know about my editing skills?

As it also happens, I’m only human. So when I’d see that someone had endorsed me (that’s where the email from LinkedIn comes in), I’d feel all warm and fuzzy inside and suddenly, click! I found myself endorsing that person back, just to pass along the writing love.

Until after a few of the endorsements, courtesy of people I didn't have firsthand professional experience with, and then I began to squirm, even if I chose writing as an endorsement (which seemed like a pretty safe bet).

See, I’m all for helping my fellow writers, and if that means bolstering their credentials with an endorsement, I’ll happily click. But I’m big on honesty and integrity, too, and I think an endorsement should mean something. So I find that these days, unless I can honestly vouch for a connection, the emails languish in my inbox without the payback endorsement.

I don’t fault LinkedIn that folks have gone overboard with the endorsements, trying to pile up skills like chips in a poker game so that the person with the most endorsements wins. I suspect that the feature started as a good idea, an easy way to make giving our business associates and friends a professional boost. After all, the Recommendation feature takes time. You have to write a whole paragraph or so if you want to recommend someone’s skills and expertise. But the Endorsement feature, now that’s more to our hurry-up society’s style. One click affirmation—you can’t get any more convenient than that, right?

So maybe it’s just me. Maybe the LinkedIn endorsement feature is rocking the writing world and I’m making an ethical mountain of an easy-to-use molehill. So I’m asking you. Have you been endorsed? And how do you feel about this new LinkedIn feature?

~ Cathy C. Hall


Anonymous said...

I have received endearments and yes, shared the love. They're kind of like smiley stickers on a school paper --cute but meaningless. I'm guessing they aren't a make-or-break deal for potential employers.

Stina said...

Oh. That doesn't sound right. If you don't know the person is qualified for that skill, you shouldn't endorse them. I've been endorsed for skills I know I don't posses.

Robyn Chausse said...

I admit, in the beginning I too felt lost on how to use this feature. My view now is that the endorsement tool is fine but should be used properly. After all, this is LinkedIn not Facebook.
The nice thing about Endorsements is that people can support you without waiting for you to ask for a Recommendation. I have endorsed several people with whose work I was familiar but with whom I had not directly worked. Yes, I did receive an Endorsement for a skill I felt was not one of my strengths--I sent a short thank you but did not upload the Endorsement to my page.
I don't think it is necessary to exchange an endorsement with every person who sends one. If you feel the endorsement fits simply accept the compliment and perhaps send a quick thank you if you feel you should.

Amber Polo said...

Thanks for being brave and bringing up this topic for discussion.
What will LinkIn do when this feature is overwhelmed with "likes"?

BECKY said...

Yes, I find it "weird" too...and meaningless...Oh well..just another sidetrack on the way to where we're going...

Margo Dill said...

I'm with you, Cathy. I've only been endorsing people that I know their skills. Otherwise, I click SKIP!

Angela Mackintosh said...

This has been bothering me too, Cath! I only endorse people I've worked with--both in the endorsement feature and in written recommendations. I've had people endorse me that I've never done business with, and I don't understand why they're doing it, other than to have their profile show up on my profile or possibly receive an endorsement back. But Robyn brings up a good point that I didn't think about...it sounds like you can remove an endorsement. I will look into that and see if I can remove the ones I haven't worked with.

In the beginning, you were only supposed to connect with people you actually worked with. What a concept! But over the years it's turned into another social networking site. That's unfortunate; we don't need another Facebook.

Another thing that irks me is people who ask for a written recommendation from me when I've never worked with them. This happens every week and it always bums me out! Also, people seem to think I don't need an endorsement back. :(

OK, rant over, but you did ask! ;)

Robyn Chausse said...

Angela's comment triggered a thought about something else that has bothered me (since we're ranting :)...the two and three tier network requests. It's one thing to be able to view a connection's network when one is searching for, let's say...a children's book editor (or whatever). I figure that if they are on my connection's network they will most likely share a value system. On the other hand, I have people I don't know from Adam asking to be included on my network. I thought two and three tier people were supposed to request an introduction first. In any case, I'm not sure how to handle this situation when I don't know these people. I don't want to be rude, but sometimes I'm more comfortable having them on the tiers.
Is there an Ann Landers of LinkedIn in the house?

Cathy C. Hall said...

Hahahha! Robyn, I know exactly what you mean! I get invitations to connect with the strangest people (and by strange, I mean folks who are complete strangers, third tier or so).

I haven't found LI to be very helpful for me, writing-wise. I keep a profile so that I have a professional presence on the web. But I've found more people connect with me to SELL rather than to seek out my services.

But my niche is humor rather than business/technical writing (where I think LI might be more beneficial). Having said that, I will accept an invitation if a person is in the writing field, whether I know the person or not. But I don't accept invites from other professionals--there's just no point, to me.

And I appreciate y'all weighing in on the endorsement topic. Sounds like we all had the same issues with this feature!

Suzanne Lilly said...

I agree with Angela about LinkedIn turning into another Facebook. I've had several endorsements with people I have had only a passing interaction with, and some with whom I've not done any business. I also am getting requests to connect with people I don't know or have even a third-hand connection with. I guess I'm just popular right? No, don't answer that! Anyway, thanks for this post. It lets me know I'm not the only one in a quandary about this endorsement feature.

Stephanie Romero said...

I have received a couple of endorsements from people that I'm not sure has even read my work. At first I thought it was pretty cool and it boosted my ego a bit. Then I thought about it and one of the endorsements I received, there was no way that person had any connection to the work. Oh well...it still feels a little good.

Gail said...

Yup, I've been wondering "what the heck are these endorsements about and why should I care?" Yes, I've gotten some from writer colleagues but I agree with you that LinkedIN is certainly more business oriented. Since I really don't do much at all with LinkedIN, other than keep a profile, I decided to be an equal opportunity curmugeon and not endorse anyone. So writer friends, if you endorsed me, don't be offended, I'm ignoring everyone's endorsement!

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