February 11, 2009

Recommendations on LinkedIn

At some point I must have written about being overwhelmed by the hordes of social media applications that I am tied into. I have several blogs, a Facebook account, Twitter account, Plaxo and one on LinkedIn.

I rarely do anything with Plaxo and have been relatively uninvolved with LinkedIn, although I think that it is time that I begin to pay more attention to it. If you are not familiar with LinkedIn here is a simple explanation about it:

LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals.

When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional expertise and accomplishments. You can then form enduring connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you. Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts.
I should send them a bill for the free publicity.

Anyway, LinkedIn is really a business application and that is how I use it. I don't play games, no smart remarks, I just put up a profile and let it be. That profile is very important and I am not pleased with how mine appears right now so revising and revamping it is on a long list of things to do.

One of the things that LinkedIn provides is a place in which you can receive or write recommendations. It is a smart idea and many people have taken advantage of this. However, I take some of those recommendations with a grain of salt and here is why.

Some of them are written by friends of the person about whom it is being written. Now this doesn't mean that they are factually incorrect or that there is anything wrong with them, but it does raise a number of questions.

Lately it has been of particular interest to me because I have received requests for a recommendation from people I have never worked with. I have to question why they would want me to write one for them. What advantage is there, unless they try to dress it up and pretend that we did work together. Or alternatively there is the old trick of writing about some past project in which the two of worked together in some of client/vendor relationship.

Thus far I have declined to write a recommendation for anyone that I haven't worked for, but I am tempted to make an exception for the next person who asks in which case I am going to have some fun preparing a very interesting recommendation for them.

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