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