It’s been a while since LinkedIn has added a fresh and attractive feature to its users profile, where there is a list of “skills and expertise” of a user and other users,who are connected to him or her can endorse the user by relevant skills. It’s a pretty engaging feature and since it has been launched most of the users have been using it extensively.
The list of skills and expertise endosed by connectons on LinkedIn
However LinkedIn has made this feature free and easy, and users can endorse each other with no hassle. Well this freedom of endorsement had been criticized by some bloggers; the critics say the endorsements haven’t been backed by any facts except the users votes. According to these social votes or endorsements Jeff Weiner ( CEO of LinkedIn) has so far received 63 endorsements for his skill and expertise over “LinkedIn” itself.
According to the criticizing point of view a guy with sense of humor but in total blindness on social networks and the related issues, might asks his connections to endorse him a hundred time for his “fake skill” on LinkedIn. Well our funny fellow shall easily be more skilled about LinkedIn than Jeff Weiner!
Very well, the reason I am writing this post is not to discredit or criticize LinkedIn over its “skills and expertise endorsement” feature. In despite of rejecting it, I shall say I love it, it is truly social, unique, engaging, crowed generated and liberal. A great advantage of the endorsements feature is its easiness, in a blink you can endorse different people for different skills through a pre-populated endorsing widget at the top of your LinkedIn profile.
So in respond to the critics, I’ll say if someone has a great deal of business to do with LinkedIn, he certainly knows with whom he has to dance. Certainly people are smart enough not to refer to the “funny fellow” to sort out business with LinkedIn. After all, these endorsements are only one type of citation, yet there are a large number of ways to find out someone’s true skills.
The point of this article, therefore is not the way that LinkedIn collects the endorsements, but it’s to remind those skills that we ( LinkedIn users) simply ignore to add to our profiles.
Few days back I was editing my profile on LinkedIn, suddenly I found out a sad truth and as far as I did dig deeper, sadder it got. And then loads of questions blown my mind;
Why no one has listed qualities such as: friendship, integrity, honesty, dreaming, transparency, responsibility, goodwill, humor, enthusiasm, sympathy, humanism and helpfulness along with the rest of his or her expertise and skills?
I had randomly searched profiles of my connections and their connections and the connections of my 3rd level connections, The result was “Null”. Not even one of the profiles had contained the above skills. I thought so strange, a feeling like the effect of insomnia, or a scene in ” Fight Club”, I asked myself; What’s happening to us? How on the earth it’s possible to get this epidemic amnesia?
How can you be manager without goodwill, a designer without dreaming, a leader with no sympathy, a marketer with no humor, an artist with no weirdness, an engineer with no integrity, a professional with no helpfulness or a marine biologist with no enthusiasm?
To be straight forward, I am not trying to be a preacher here. What I’m saying is strictly business. The above qualities are essential professional skills, which need to be developed and cared constantly, no matter what you do, what’s your position, your job description and experience, in the lack of the above skills you head nowhere. Whether you are a rocket scientist or a delivery boy you’ve got to have needed skills, and they include business ethics, social behavior and professional values. There are even a number of the above skills in each and every job being posted, they are just too obvious to be ignored.
I am sure people with higher expertise in behavioral science, human resource development, organizational and professional behaviour and business ethics could have endless talks and write ups on these issues, yet my job is to study and observe social media in order to find solutions, make applications and deliver marketing campaigns, For me it was a surprise or accident to find out what we all missed in our list of skills. I truly believe in this quote, by John Steinbeck: “It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.”
‘ Well now lets see why almost all LinkedIn users have just missed to add these high quality skills to their profile?’
I’ve come out with a theory that seems to justify our behavior. Perhaps I can translate this phenomenon as getting overwhelmed by the huge mass of interactions, information and technical aspects of social networks.
For the first time in the history, We have gained the most advanced communication tools, state of the art socializing platforms, constant changes, endless technological evolutions, but we are also people with less privacy, daily updated priorities, our social life is being scored by Klout and Analytics and without we even notice, for many of us when we buy a dress, order food or plan a trip; the most important priority is to make sure our photos while wearing this dress or having that dish or doing another activity will get an enormous number of likes on Facebook. -Please note I am not criticizing anything here, I am just explaining the situation. – Therefore, we are very much influenced by the weaves of feedbacks we receive from social networks in a multi-direction and cross-platform atmosphere.
Many of us have experienced how this atmosphere can turn to a hurricane within few minutes, and leave us with ruined relationships, missed opportunities, embarrassments, misunderstandings and so on, these things happen so often for us, and people we know across our social networks. Reason? it’s normal we are the first-timers, we haven’t been adopted to all these changes and their consequences.
Our parents have spent their lifetime educating us, it took them years teaching us how to behave in an appropriate manner at home or in public, but they naturally left us no clue on how to manage our social network activities, in fact many of us now trying to teach our parents how to share a link on Facebook or how to mention us in a tweet instead of calling us every other day.
Back to the point, With all these vibrations and transformations things get much more serious when it comes to LinkedIn, LinkedIn is not Facebook in despite of all the common features, because LinkedIn is the professional social network!
It means we act much more carefully on LinkedIn, we just want to be careful after all the mess we think we might have created on Facebook and Twitter, What happens on LinkedIn directly affects our job, financial issues, income and professional connections; Have you noticed the number of likes, comments and shares on LikedIn is much much less than similar interactions on Facebook? Because we usually take Facebook as the territory of our private life, a place to socialize with friends and family ( putting Facebook fan pages and groups aside), Overall we feel safer and more exposed on Facebook, But In LinkedIn we are alert.
The fear of unknown risks, rules us not to expose our inner layers, in practice many LinkedIn users try hard to expand their connections, but they just do not feel comfortable to interact with them.
As a result, when it comes to the skills, users freely go into details by adding detailed technical skills, some even include vastly common skills such as MS Word but they missed to list the fundamental skills such as: transparency, honesty and integrity, because they are feeling the fear of potential risks and prefer not to expose things, which are related to inner layers of theirselves although listing the missed skills, is necessary to reflect their professional abilities.
The above theory, more or less justifies users behaviour on LinkedIn, so we shall note LinkedIn is also accountable for creating this cold situation.
In compare with other major social networks LinkedIn lacks the unique social networking features to fulfill its objectives, it dose not even allow the users to upload and share the photos.Lack of photos and colors have created a rigid and cold atmosphere, when we see how Pinterest is popular among women, we surely acknowledge the warm and friendly elements that photos add to the web.
We also have to acknowledge the objectives of LinkedIn might carry some concerns to preserve the professional elements throughout the site but on the other hand LinkedIn shall put more trust on the users, lets just imagine how a humorous person acts at home or private life by being cool and entertaining and how the same person act differently at the office to satisfy and express his humor while maintaining the professional codes.
Maybe providing more icebreaking features is what led LinkedIn to develop the skills and endorsements feature, the above theory supports the endorsements as a right move by LinkedIn to make its network more social, engaging and human friendly.