I get occasional emails which state that I have been endorsed for skills from LinkedIn. Now not many show up in my about me because I suppose I don’t reply or reciprocate or approve or something. So I click on the latest endorsement today and it does not show up either but I am asked to approve the list of people that show up for skills. I have to say that many of them I don’t personally know and I don’t have a clue as to what most of them can really can do. Others I do know and could easily endorse them and it would have meaning because I have personal experience with them that would bequeath credibility to the endorsement.
However it has become a game with entirely to many individuals running around collecting endorsements and way to many endorsements being given as a simple courtesy to those who endorsed you even though many times no one knows what the other can truly do. Now as proof of this I offer two situations I am familiar with. I have received endorsements for machining and design and CAD and CAM and manufacturing skills. From people who know me through my blog or by reputation even though only a few of these have actually seen anything I have done and can speak truthfully about skill levels. And that presumes that they have the knowledge in that particular discipline they endorse me for so that the endorsement would be valid.
Then we have this guy. Jon Banquer is proof to me of how frivolous LinkedIn endorsements have become. Go look at his Skills and Expertise list and there are gobs of endorsements from all over the map from people who have never seen his work in any way. They have never seen any evidence the company he claims to own is real. No files no work, just nothing. But yet lots of endorsements and I dare say the majority happened because he endorsed others. Reciprocity is the polite LinkedIn thing to do after all.
So we have the professional equivalent of Facebook’s “Farmville” where social networks are created and driven so that some how some way it can be monetized in the future. With Farmville I remember my wife playing it and then one day in order to have a really cool farm you had to start buying things. I laughed and call me silly if you want but I have prohibited my family from posting things about me and pictures of me there. There is serious data mining going on with Facebook and continuous chicanery with your personal information because they HAVE to make money and your personal data is how they will do it. Everything you put there is for sale. Now LinkedIn is I believe going through the same process and working on developing large user networks. Ones that may have very little basis in truth in some cases but it does connect dots and it does get large groups of people in the system for future monetization. A little more profit potential than Farmville per user because in many cases the individuals at LinkedIn are professionals of some sort and therefore presumably in a place of influence for who buys or uses what. A list for sale to advertisers and sales types would be another way of stating it.
Sad thing is that so much of the stuff in endorsements is bogus that it is of itself revealing of the monetizing principle which has replace true value as people scramble to recreate the wealth the web can represent. Just like the unproven models with the dot com bust that fleeced many of money today I believe we see the replacement of dot com fraud. It is social whatever where getting numbers is king and where getting as an investor true verifiable data is next to impossible. An amusing offshoot of this is click fraud companies who create bogus clicks. Or Google pulling shenanigans with word search and rank to benefit themselves. Or the fabulous wealth of Facebook’s initial public offering without proof it could earn that kind of money.
So we have LinkedIn looking for ways to make their social network grow using less than honest measure to do so. LinkedIn is a valuable resource for finding people in some ways in that they do provide a network of connections that can be very beneficial. Sadly it is becoming less valuable over time as they introduce silly things like endorsements that are not verified in any way shape or form.
So to all of you who have sent me endorsements. Even though I know some of you personally and I know you have skills I just don’t bother participating because of the prevalence of endorsement fraud. Does not mean I don’t appreciate endorsements but I never solicit for them and I won’t reciprocate and now you know why.
It kind of reminds me of the Japan Tsunami videos. First you had the original video and author and then tons of people who would plagiarize them just to get view number counts however they could. Or Grabcad where models show up done by one and subsequently claimed as being done by others who wish to look like CAD gurus and get points or whatever someone thinks they gain by claiming what is not theirs to be theirs. Or Jon Banquer CADCAM’s premier troll who collects them to look authoritative but can’t provide any files or finished work for public or peer review.
Sorry LinkedIn but you have flopped on this one and it is costing you credibility even though it will over time probably help you pay bills.