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LinkedIn users have, no doubt, noticed that there is a relatively new feature – endorsements.

This leading professional networking site previously only offered a recommendation feature, a nice tool for members who were interested in strengthening their personal career brand by getting meaningful written recommendations from colleagues and customers.

My feelings about the new endorsements feature is not as generous. To be honest, I think it is silly. It does not add value and I think it is a rare misstep for this savvy site.

Why? With one click of a button, people can and do, endorse people they barely know, much less have any depth of knowledge about their professional skills. As a fellow albeit more cynical recruiter quipped, “this LinkedIn feature is electronic sucking up, pure and simple.”

Since LinkedIn probably does not care what I think, I am not embarking today on a campaign to do away with endorsements. Rather, I want to encourage people to build their inventory of written recommendations. These statements of support regarding an individual’s subject matter expertise and performance communicate real brand value. They carry far more weight than a single click and some hard-to-find recommendation scorecard. Maybe check this out for inspiration on what good LinkedIn recommendations should look like.

I look at the endorsement feature with the same bemused skepticism that I have for LIONs – Linked In Open Networkers, individuals who are connected to people they do not know and who they will never interact with in any meaningful way. But hey, they have 9,000+ contacts. This is another case of less is more.

What do you think?

2012 John Gregory Self