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    The Problem of Social Media Revisited

    November 1, 2012

    Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg

    Social Media

    As an unintended addendum to last week's post, I wanted to share a personal anecdote and a little something I learned through it…

    Yesterday, a friend of mine "endorsed" me on LinkedIn.

    Now to be clear, there are two ways to recommend someone on LinkedIn. You can click on a button that says you endorse a specific skill of a person (or add a new skill), or alternatively, you can write a recommendation like a reference would on a resume.

    What my friend did falls under option one - he endorsed a skill he's seen and appreciates in me by clicking a button. Seeing the notification email, I logged in to view the endorsement at which point I was presented with an option to endorse four other individuals for specific skills - each endorsement happening simply at the click of a button.

    That made me think…how much do our endorsements really mean? Of course, anytime a professional contact takes time to endorse me I really appreciate it. But for me, as I look at clicking those buttons, what would mean more? Me clicking a button, or me taking the time to write a recommendation highlighting the specific values of my interactions with that individual? No doubt, the latter is more meaningful and carries more weight.

    But I also wonder, what will I (we) revert to more often? Will I succumb to the ease of a button click and as such, pass on the opportunity to add far more significant value to someone else's online presence?

    It's a microcosm of the bigger issue that I highlighted in last week's post. As mentioned above, I really had no intention of making that into a two-part post, but this week, as the rubber hit the road for me on LinkedIn, I thought I'd share the practical implication I came across in my own usage of social media.

    So let me encourage you to go ahead and click that "Endorse" button (especially if it's me you're endorsing :), but do so considerately - thinking through whether you truly do endorse that skill in that person. And beyond that, I'll add a challenge to ask yourself this question: If this person is good enough for me to endorse with the click of a button, are they also worth a well-thought-out recommendation as well? If they are, don't shy away from it. Take the time and give them their due.

    In other words, as our social media platforms present us with more and more efficiencies, don't forget to be human while we use them.