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January 29, 2023

Random, Irrelevant LinkedIn Endorsements Are the Best LinkedIn Endorsements

Sorry if I'm a little late to this, but endorsement bombing on LinkedIn is a thing. That is, those professional accolades that you're always asked to hand out to people? People are endorsing each other ironically for random things that are of no particular relevance to anything:

A couple of Rhys Wilson’s customers recently asked about his expertise in “fly fishing,” a listing that reeked of payback. Mr. Wilson, a manager at a software startup, had earlier endorsed a friend’s skill in the use of “lubricants.”

Profile pranks, also known as endorsement bombing, sprang from the LinkedIn feature intended to highlight laudable skills. Instead, some people fluff the digital profiles of friends with skills of no particular relevance. Unless, of course, “round tables,” “cheese” or “chairs” is your thing.

“You want it to be as weird and abstract as possible,” Mr. Wilson said of the practice, which requires approval by the subject.

I heartily approve of these endorsement bombs. If there's any corner of the internet that needs a dose of levity, it's the graveyard orgy of self-importance that is LinkedIn.

The company, naturally, is nonplussed:

Officially, endorsements are a way for people to boost their marketability, LinkedIn spokeswoman Julie Inouye said. “It feels strange people would want to make a joke on their professional profile,” she added.

You know what also feels strange? When a social media platform claims that it's helping build your professional network when, in reality, it's just exploiting you to marketing and headhunting firms. That goes beyond feeling strange, in fact, you're violating people's trust and annoying the hell out of them in the process, LinkedIn!

But back to these endorsement bombs; making subtle mockery of these meaningless badges of approval that we dole out to each other seems like the best way for us all to exact revenge for years of relentless email.

Unfortunately, all of my endorsements appear to be sincere although it's hard to believe "trolling" hasn't shown up yet. Others that probably should be endorsed for include: "trouble controlling voice volume," "hummus," and "cat litter."

As for you, the accounting masses, endorsement bombs like "tickmarks" or "coffee breath" or "passive-aggressive emails" seem appropriate, but don't quite fit the directive of "weird and abstract as possible." We'll need to work on this together. 

Let's see if I can get things started with a few or ten possibilities

  • jumping jacks
  • knots
  • soufflés
  • glassblowing
  • interrupting
  • Muppet Babies
  • Ladybugs
  • typewriter repair
  • audible sighing
  • mayonnaise

I recommend endorsing some of your LinkedIn contacts with one or more of the above just to get the ball rolling. Of course, you're free to submit others and debate their validity in the comments. Have fun.

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