[11.29.12]
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Open Networkers And Now Open Endorsers. Oh My!

endorsements, linkedin endorsements, A Social, credibility, Endorsers, LinkedIn, Linkedin Connections, Linkedin Network, linkedin open networker, networkers, New Social Network, Social Business, social networkI got a LinkedIn connection request from an open networker today. Always makes me cringe. Especially if it’s a generic request with no attempt to personalize the invite.

Why?

Because I don’t want to be a number. I don’t want to be one of someone’s 10,000. A token citizen of your LinkedIn kingdom.

So I always hesitate.

It’s funny because this argument (open or more selective connecting on LinkedIn) is what originally brought Neal Schaffer and I together (through a disagreement on LinkedIn strategy). And he is now one of the people I trust the most on how to strategically use sites like LinkedIn to maximize social business.  

What I had not seen yet when I visited the profile of today’s requester was that the game on LinkedIn has changed yet again with the new endorsements feature. How?

There are now “open endorsers”. And there are groups on LinkedIn just for this purpose. Yuck.

open, endorsements, open netowrkers, LinkedIn

What are LinkedIn endorsements you ask?

Basically they are a way to let your 1st level connections (people who should know you better than most) confirm what you do well or add skills to your profile. With one click, you can add credibility to someone’s profile. These are much easier than getting LinkedIn recommendations. But they are also worth a lot less to many folks who look for more substantive thoughts about you.

But the idea is that if you crowd source an opinion from your connections that it might actually be more relevant. And LinkedIn very likely will use your top three endorsed skills to direct better traffic to your profile.

Makes sense, right?

And for this reason, I think you need to play along. In a positive and constructive way, of course.

But where are we heading with this? Over-connecting and asking strangers to endorse our skills so we can become a bigger cheese on a social network?

If you are a job seeker or someone who’s business success relies on building a network, I can see the temptation. It’s also tempting to use your LinkedIn connections as your promotional mailing list. Should I Email My Entire LinkedIn Network? (Hint: No).

But if every skill you have is endorsed by 99+ people, then you have no skill at all.

The picture below is the skills section for the person that requested my connection this AM:

LinkedIn, endorsements, open, networking, strategy

In my view, 99+ for everything = 0. Worthless.  No help to me if I’m a recruiter or hiring manager. You see, it’s not the quantity, it’s my ability to determine your relative strengths.

Like I said in a prior post on connecting with everyone without thinking – if we’re just going to connect with everyone eventually, then let’s ask Linked just to connect us all into one big network and start over on a new social network.

It’s now also true about people who misuse the endorsements feature. Scary.

What do you think about open endorsements? Am I wrong?


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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