I have to admit I really do like the idea behind LinkedIn’s new Endorsements feature.
With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!
That sounds a bit glib but it’s not meant to be. It actually seems to me to potentially be a better way of measuring influence than the fuzzy (and easily gameable) systems of tools like Klout. LinkedIn is, at it’s core, based on the idea that these are the people you’ve connected with for professional reasons. Facebook is very much about personal connections but LinkedIn has always been about connecting with people as a way to network virtually, creating a repository of folks who hopefully know what you can do and how well you can do it.
Let’s take the hypothetical situation of my being an executive who is searching for a new sysadmin. I’ll start by searching my LinkedIn network for someone with those skills. Then when I see that someone has received X number of endorsements compared to someone else who has received fewer, I can factor that into my thinking about who to contact next.
And I think that’s why I like this more than I like something like Klout, which I’ve never given much weight to: Klout always seemed more about someone’s own ego and the sycophants who they’ve surrounded themselves with who will give them “kred” about this, that or the other thing. But the fact that it produces a number continues to tell me it’s still about ego and not any sort of number that means anything to the outside world.
LinkedIn Endorsements, though, seem more about validating – or not – the skills that someone has given themselves. An endorsement by a professional contact validates and lends weight to that self-evaluation, something that seems much more credibility to my mind and therefore more valuable when it comes to evaluating the people I’ve connected with professionally.