The problem with social media

Please stop endorsing me on LinkedIn.  No, I mean it… STOP it.

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of endorsements on LinkedIn – and an increasing number of them are from people that have no firsthand experience of my skills or capabilities.  So, why are they doing it?  That’s easy.  They want me to endorse them so that it appears that their core skills are validated. Which is fine, if the people doing it are qualified to judge.  As I don’t, I won’t be endorsing them.

Vanity is a big problem on social media.  Think about the messages you get on Facebook inviting you to ‘like’ a page, or the posts that ask you to ‘share if you agree’, or the tweets that ask you to RT for the sake of it.  We’ve all had them and, let’s be honest, we’ve all done all of these from time to time, but what value do vanity likes, RTs and shares actually deliver?  I’d argue very little.  They just make the poster feel popular, or falsely justify the perceived value of  a piece of content.

The other problem caused by vanity social is that features like LinkedIn endorsements, Twitter RTs or Facebook ‘likes’ are not trustworthy and, as a result, have no perceived value.  And, if they have no perceived value… what’s the point?

So, if you’re going to endorse me on LinkedIn please don’t.  Not unless you are in a position to do so credibly.  If you want me to like something, do something that I’ll like.  If I like the content I’ll ‘like’ it.  If you want me to share something, create something that adds value to me and my network.

6 Replies to “The problem with social media”

  1. I’ll try not to hijack your rant for one of my own, but your post today hits on something I’ve been thinking about in recent days, exactly what is the value in Linkedin as a tool.

    Like you, I have endorsements by people who have never seen me do the task for which they are endorsing me. They are well meaning folks who think they are doing me a favor. Linkedin is supposed to be a “professional network” but the concept of the endorsements loses value when you are asked to choose endorsements when you view someones profile like it is part of a game. The question is asked, “Does said person have these skills or expertise?” Well heck, if you say you can do brain surgery in your profile who I am to say you can’t? So I just click on the endorsement because Linkedin asked me.

    Then there is the other side of the spectrum. Someone will ask to connect, and once I accept, I try to start a conversation with them and they never reply back to any of my messages. So why connect with me if you don’t want to talk to me? Is collecting connections the other part of the game?

    Both issues lead me back to my original thought, exactly what is the value in Linkedin as a tool. As you state, if there is no perceived value, what’s the point?

    1. Your comments and opinions are always welcome sir and thank you for this one. I have the same questions about people that connect on LinkedIn and then never get involved in a conversation. The ‘collection’ syndrome has become an epidemic on other social platforms – individuals or companies are focused only on getting the number of likes to X, or their followers to Y, rather than necessarily engaging with them.

      With LinkedIn, I don’t even mind if people that I know less well connect and ask me to talk about a recent presentation I saw them give, or a conversation we had. I’d gladly provide feedback or some kind of endorsement if I valued it [and not, if I didn’t].

      Social media is becoming the gamification of human connection – and it’s doing it an injustice!

  2. I don’t have an issue with people “collecting” contacts on LinkedIn – and I will almost always except an invitation to connect – but both of you have nailed it when it comes to conversation. People don’t follow up! I have accepted invitations to connect where people have reached out to me with questions more than once. But in most cases, after I took the time to thoughtfully respond, I never to hear from them again! What’s the point in that?

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Casandra, it’s always great to hear from new people. I always wonder what people are thinking when they send an invite and a question, but then don’t respond when you answer it and attempt to start a conversation. It’s like asking a question when the person is standing opposite you and then walking away as they are answering it!

      I like your concept of minimalist marketing – perhaps you fancy coffee in the next few weeks? I’d love to know more about what you’re doing.

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