We don’t have 300 friends, and neither do we have all those LinkedIn skills

By | October 21, 2012

Remember when having 300 friends wasn’t possible? Well, it’s still not possible, if you want to have any sort of meaningful relationship with each of them. There simply isn’t enough free time, and also, why would you bother? Sure, having 300 acquaintances is possible, given all the people we regularly interact with.

But that’s what happened with Facebook. We added hords of “friends”, people we’ve meet at one point or another. But most of them weren’t friends, so the term friend sort of became redefined. At least until we all learned that friends on Facebook is something completely different.

The same thing is happening now, I believe, with LinkedIn endorsements. Sure, I don’t mind getting endorsed by people in my network. I like it, especially if it’s a skill I want to have or want to show off. But it doesn’t mean I’m by any measurement an expert in all those areas.

A while back when I was working as a consultant, doing contracting work, and when asked what sort of skills I could sell I always found it some what hard to push too much of the things I knew. Not because I didn’t have any skill at what I could be selling, but because it wasn’t a skill I felt good enough at to take money off someone for. There was a certain level of pride in what I was doing, and just selling something just because I’ve spent some of my spare time playing around with it, didn’t make it feel right. Maybe that’s just me, thinking too much in the terms of an engineer rather than a business person?

So prior to endorsements you could ask someone to write you a recommendation. Or maybe you actually did such a good job that they did anyway, without you asking for it. And that felt good. Someone actually took time to write down a few words about their interactions with you. Now, with endorsements, it’s more or less a single click. Something you do in 10 seconds, not thinking too much about it, and doing it mainly to be kind.

So if you’re able to milk the endorsement game, do it now while there’s still a perceived value linked to it.