Perceived value or real?
Ask anyone who knows me how I feel about LinkedIn endorsements and they’ll tell you I love them but also hate them. My ambivalent feelings have something to do with their value, which other LinkedIn members also question. Are they perceived value or real? This is the question.
Awhile back I used to work for a guy who introduced me to the term “perceived value.” He used this term when I questioned him about a new program the company was rolling out, whereby our customers had the fortune to buy unlimited technical service or pay some outrageous cost like $90 an hour per phone call.
Perceived value. I love that term and it has stuck with me. It’s like buying a grapefruit at an expensive grocery store believing it has more value than a grapefruit at a less expensive grocery store.
In the end, the grapefruit from the less expensive store is tastier, juicier, and more delectable. Still the more expensive grapefruit’s perceived value tricks our minds into thinking it tastes better.
LinkedIn endorsements’ perceived value
Someone who has many endorsements is perceived as being strong in those skills. For example, I visited my valued connection’s profile where every bleeping skill had 99+ endorsements. I asked him how he had accumulated so many endorsements. With a smirk on his face he told me it was because he has a lot of friends.
Endorsements were introduced by LinkedIn to increase engagement, plain and simple. With a left click of the mouse you can endorse someone for a skill you’ve never witnessed them perform.
While some argue that what they write on their profile is proof enough, you and I both know that words can be embellished all for the sake of marketing oneself. So this reasoning for me is faulty.
LinkedIn is screwing with people’s minds by suggesting which of your connections’ skills you should endorse. They do this occasionally when you visit someone’s profile (see below) and also offer suggestions on your profile.
I once asked one of my colleagues why he endorsed me for some skills I didn’t want endorsed, and he told me, “Because LinkedIn told me to.” There is LinkedIn screwing with people’s minds.
LinkedIn is turning us into lemmings who are running off the proverbial cliff.
LinkedIn endorsements’ real value
But wait, you’re thinking, if you’re opposed to endorsements, why are you making such a fuss over them? This is a fair question. It’s because endorsements can have real value if they’re awarded the proper ways.
The first of two ways is by seeing your connections actually perform the skills they have listed on their profile. Remember the person who joked that he was endorsed for his skills because he has a lot of friends? Truth be told, I’ve seen him perform a number of those skills and he deserves to be endorsed for them.
The second proper way to endorse someone is by trusting them. Based on how the recipient lists their skills, this is giving you a clue as how to proceed. The skills I have listed on my profile, for instance, have been carefully selected to reflect my value, not perceived value. (Read my post on how to help people endorse you.)
I see many LinkedIn members take special care in arranging their skills to provide guidance to people who’d like to endorse them for their skills.
LinkedIn endorsements will only provide value when they are dealt out accurately. This can be accomplished if visitors have seen recipients demonstrate the skills for which they’re endorsed or, as I’ve said, trust them to arrange their skills to truly represent their strengths.
When this happens, I will have faith in LinkedIn endorsements. But if endorsers continue to follow LinkedIn’s suggestions, or endorse people by the highest number of endorsements, I see them as perceived value.
Photo: Flickr, Mauricio Sarfati