I receive a lot of emails from LinkedIn about endorsements for random skills. I am not quite sure what these endorsements really mean so I decided to dig deeper.
When people log in to LinkedIn, they are asked by a random algorithm to endorse people for certain skills. Mind you, these are skills that the computer program thinks folks would agree with based on whatever determinants it sources.
I was bit surprised to see what I had been mass endorsed for (see the above chart). In particular, media relations and public relations struck me as odd. I haven’t identified myself publicly as a PR pro since 2009. Yet LinkedIn still thinks this is a relevant endorsement. Further, I have not engaged in media relations activities since 2008. Yet its my fifth skill set.
Ironically, I have published four books, three in the past three years. And the last business book was on integrated communications. Yet, you won’t find either of those skill sets in the top 10. In fact you have to scroll further down to see them in the other skills.
Here are a few quick observations about endorsements. Personal positioning or branding techniques don’t seem to matter to the algorithm. It doesn’t source your recent work, web sites, or even your postings for topics (again, I post on what I work and write about, not PR or media relations). Which in turn makes me think the algorithm can’t effectively garner endorsements about anyone’s actual work.
I am much more likely to trust a recommendation because they are written referrals, but even those feel contrived. I get asked to write recommendations all the time. When I write one it’s authentic based on past work, but are others as discerning?
Thank goodness you have to scroll far down the profile to see these endorsements. They feel like a crowdsourced mess. That’s too bad because they had potential to provide deeper value than other influence metrics like Klout or Kred. In the end, I may just turn endorsements off.
What do you think about LinkedIn endorsements?
This post ran originally on the Vocus blog. I am on vacation until September 30th and will not be responding to comments. The floor is yours!