Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

I am officially getting cynical about LinkedIn Endorsements

The hot new feature on LinkedIn is "Endorsements". Basically, they show you a list of randomly selected people in your network, and random skills that they claim to have, and ask whether you can vouch for those skills. It's a fairly clever idea in theory.

The problem is, LinkedIn is trying to have it both ways -- to be both a professional resume site *and* a social network. And the result is that most of the endorsements (anecdotally, based on my experience) don't come from co-workers, they come from friends. Granted, I may be unusual in that I have a lot of friends online, but still -- I think 80% of the endorsements I've received are from people I've never worked with professionally.

The result, of course, is that the endorsements bear little resemblance to reality. So far, I have 2 endorsements each for Perl, Java and JavaScript, 1 for C#, and none for Scala or ActionScript. That is almost *exactly* wrong. I'm currently doing exclusively Scala, spent much of the past ten years working mainly in C# and ActionScript, haven't done Java in over a decade (aside from an abortive attempt to use it for CommYou, which convinced me that I can't stand the language any more), and have only spotty Perl experience at best. Indeed, the endorsements seem to mostly have to do with which buzzwords folks recognize -- that would help account for why I haven't gotten any for things like .NET or Multi-threading, which I actually *am* pretty expert in.

It's kind of too bad, since the high concept of endorsements is a good one. But it's a subtle reminder of why Identity is so important, and why *separating* Identities is important. Having a single LinkedIn identity that encompasses both friends and my professional career actually makes it much *less* useful in some respects, because it muddies the data so much...
Tags: social networking

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