LinkedIn Endorsements: What are they?

In Sept 2012, LinkedIn added a new feature to their site to allow anyone to endorse anyone else.  LinkedIn suggests that this new tool can be a way for you to recognize the good work done by your connections.

While the premise of the endorsement is positive, the way we see them being implemented is diluting their value.  Here in the OITE many of our inboxes are being filled with eager readers endorsing us.  While we love feeling smart, we question the value of endorsements when people are acknowledging us for skills they have never seen us use.  For example:  fellows have been endorsing our science skills when some of us have been away from the bench for over 8 years!  How do you know the quality of our science techniques when we don’t even know the quality of our science techniques anymore?  Forbes mentions in a recent article that in the first month over 200 million endorsements were added, and on average they see an additional ~10 million endorsements every day.  In the social media sphere, google “LinkedIn endorsements” and you will see a flurry of activity about the value of endorsements, and most of the commentary is not overwhelmingly positive. 

We urge you to save endorsements from just being a popularity contest, only use these “easy clicks” for people you are really familiar with.  Not all of your first degree connections can you honestly judge the value of their skills that they have listed.  In regards to choosing to “one-click” an endorsement for someone, heed the old adage, “Just because you can, doesn’t you mean you should.”