There’s a (offensive) joke that really makes me laugh: a small boy is playing outside, and he finds a welding mask. He puts it on and pretends to be piloting a spaceship, making vrooming noises and holding his arms out like wings. The local pervert turns up and calls him over.
“Son, do you know what a penis is?”
“No!” says the boy, and swoops off again.
The perv calls him over again.
“Do you know what a vagina is?”
“No!” says the boy, vrooming away.
The perv calls him back.
“Son, do you know what sex is?”
The boy lifts up the mask and says: “for fuck’s sake mister, I’m not really a welder!”
Business-focused social network LinkedIn really reminds me of that, because lots of people seem to think I’m a welder.
I should probably explain. This is about LinkedIn’s endorsements, which enable people to endorse others’ skills – so if you’ve hired me as a copywriter you might endorse me for that skill, or if you valued a project I did you might endorse me for that. But without fail, every day someone endorses my work in a speciality I don’t have – vajazzling, perhaps, or morris dancing. The people doing the endorsing don’t know whether I have the speciality or not, because they’ve never worked with me or hired me to do anything – so when they endorse me for proofreading or new media, it’s meaningless.
I’m assuming the intention is for me to return the favour, which of course I won’t, because I haven’t worked with those people. But what’s particularly frustrating is that these bullshit endorsements are rendering other ones redundant – so for example the endorsements from colleagues and clients I’ve actually worked for and/or with, endorsements from people whose opinions actually matter and whose endorsements actually have value, are made meaningless.
If you’re on LinkedIn and you’re considering endorsing someone you don’t know for something you don’t know they can do, please don’t.