I'm approaching my 10th anniversary on LinkedIn and I have found it a magnificent record of my professional life. The fact that it is published to the web is a positive side benefit. Surprisingly (or maybe not), I use it as my system of record for my professional life. When I enter into situation that may require a resume, the first thing I do is I make sure my LinkedIn profile is up to date. And I make updates to my resume reconciled against my LinkedIn profile. It is the easiest and best organized place to keep my professional profile information.
So when a past associate from Mozilla pointed to the year old blog post about "empty endorsements" I started reflecting about how I disagree with this. Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect of the work done by Erin and Alex. And the world is a whole lot better place because they are in it. As we move further into our digital, connected, and social media lives... the idea of online or digital endorsement becomes increasingly important. And staying connected with people is our connected knowledge (*we store our knowledge in our friends*); and really over a life well lived we don't know when things will come full circle. So staying connected to people in multiple ways, and acknowledging (or endorsing) a persons skills or knowledge you are familiar is the right thing to do. I do know I recently endorsed Erin for her leadership skills. I didn't do this lightly, I was mindful when I did it. I spoke with Erin a number of times during my time with Mozilla and I observed how she led a group, she is a good leader. So when I was prompted by LinkedIn (an option she has chosen to use) on a skill she has included with her profile, I thought about it and made the endorsement. From my experience, I will always consider Erin a good leader. If Erin (or anyone) truly believes LinkedIn endorsements are empty, I will politely suggest they turn off the ability to be endorsed.
From my perspective my LinkedIn endorsements are not empty, either given or received. They could be if I wasn't mindful when I gave an endorsement, or didn't consider which endorsements I displayed. (I regularly prune / update my online profiles). I believe in social media and paying it forward. I believe our personal reputations are an accumulation of all our contributions, recommendations, endorsements, badges, interactions, etc... across all the locations we participate and contribute online (and more importantly, offline).