Endorsing connections with one click has made it simpler than ever to show professional support. It’s now so easy that some say the endorsements have lost their impact.
A recent change to LinkedIn allows first-degree connections to endorse each other’s skills, singly or in their entirety, with a single click. This makes it a simple matter to display your respect for performance and ability you’ve observed in working together.
Unfortunately, it also reduces the endorsements to the trappings of a popularity contest or a mere duty of etiquette instead of a sincere and well-earned badge of professional appreciation. Writing in Mashable, Todd Wasserman even categorizes the requests for and notifications of these easy endorsements as nuisances that clutter up his inbox, and he’s not the only person to express the feeling.
For most internet platforms, ease of use is the goal. All the social media sites and indeed, online activities of every kind, strive to increase the easy factor and tout each development in that direction as a move toward the grail of freedom from finger-lifting. The problem in this case is that the simplicity of the process has created a system more akin to hitting ‘Like’ on Facebook than writing a well thought-out recommendation based on your judicious professional opinion of a contact’s abilities.
If it’s such a simple matter to confer these endorsements, can the endorsements themselves carry any real weight with those who seek to establish the qualifications of a potential hire or service provider? When the default option you face in a request to endorse is accepting and approving the complete skill set listed by the requester, it’s hard to believe that your endorsements are laden with significance.
As Wasserman points out, removing the “Accept all” default would be at least a small improvement to the system. Manually selecting the skills you wish to endorse still doesn’t meet the standard of support indicated by taking the time to voluntarily write a personal statement describing your experience with the professional in question. Even so, anything that changes the current situation in which endorsing all is the path of least resistance can only help to reestablish some of the weight of a recommendation.
This is one of the cases where easy doesn’t mean better. On a serious professional networking site, where people are being evaluated for value in the workplace instead of cuteness or good musical taste, requiring a modicum of effort and thought from those who endorse their skills is probably a positive thing.
What do you think? Are you pleased with the way you can now endorse those you support so easily or do you worry that it’s too easy and therefore less significant? And speaking of endorsements, would you mind endorsing me for lion-taming? It’ll only take one click…