Friday, September 28, 2012

LinkedIn needs to tread carefully on new features or risk sullying its reputation

I appreciate that professional social networking service LinkedIn continues to innovate and add new features. But some of its newest efforts are veering toward the frivolous. 
LinkedIn has always been the serious adult to Facebook’s partying teenager in terms of sensibility. 
LinkedIn is your professional face online. It’s your modern resume. It lists your education, work history, experience and professional interests. Recruiters use it to find prospects for employment. 
By contrast, Facebook is a place where you post fun photos and personal updates on your activities. It’s an online service for sharing funny videos, news articles and photos, and playing social games. 
Some of LinkedIn’s newest features stray close to Facebook territory. This trend ultimately could damage LinkedIn’s solid reputation. 
Lately LinkedIn has been bugging me to “endorse” areas of expertise for people I’m linked with. It’s the equivalent of a Facebook “Like” button for people’s professional skills. I don’t like it. 
First off, I find the alerts intrusive. Secondly, if I wanted to recommend somebody’s work experience, I’d do that in the recommendations section. Hitting the “endorse” button is a cheap substitute. And lastly, LinkedIn has been asking me to endorse the skills of people I haven’t worked with. 
LinkedIn also sent an email saying it would notify me when people like what I’ve shared on the site. Once again, this kind of “liking” activity seems too much like frivolous Facebook stuff. 
LinkedIn needs to keep our relationship strictly professional. 

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